American Judges Association


Date of this Version



Court review - Volume 56


Used by permission.


With its 2019-20 Term disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Supreme Court released just 53 signed decisions, the fewest decisions in a Term since the Civil War.1 But the Court’s lighter docket still featured important criminal law and procedure cases touching on what constitutes reasonable individualized suspicion, the necessity of jury unanimity, and the proper form of the insanity defense.

The more conservative justices on the Court overwhelmingly shaped the development of criminal law and procedure this Term. In the 14 cases summarized in this review, the Chief Justice and Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh agreed in judgment 11 times. Justice Kavanaugh never joined or wrote a dissenting opinion, and Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Gorsuch each dissented only once. A liberal Justice provided the deciding vote in only three of the summarized cases.