Is the Sixth the New Ninth? – Revisited

The ABA Journal reports that in recent years the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has surpassed the Ninth Circuit as the most reversed circuit court. This isn’t news to regular VC readers, as we reported the Sixth Circuit’s 0-5 record in habeas cases in the 2009-10 term and noted the Cincinnati Enquirer‘s 2011 report on the Sixth Circuit’s woes. As of June 2012, the Sixth Circuit was on a twenty case losing streak.

While the Sixth Circuit has seen more than its share of reversals in recent years, there are other ways to look at the circuit’s record. As the ABA Journal notes, if one looks at the “full reversal rate measure” — which looks not only at direct reversals but also includes the outcomes in cases in which the Court considers a question the circuit has considered, the Sixth fares a bit better. Using this measure, according to one analysis, the Sixth Circuit was only the fourth-most-reversed circuit in the 2011 term. Of course considering some of the Sixth Circuit’s recent decisions (e.g. here) it seems more reversals could be coming.