There are obviously many cases where the appeals court reversal opinion will tie the hands of the district court and force a different opinion than the original one. But there are many cases where this is not so. Sometimes the court vacates on grounds that the original ruling “did not properly consider” or address such-and-such issue, or erred on highly technical or procedural grounds.
Human nature being what it is, I would expect that in the overwhelming majority of such cases - like 95% or more - if the case is simply sent back to the original judge he is going to find some way to sustain his ruling. He will correct any procedural deficiencies, and when he “considers” important factors that he didn’t address in the first ruling, he will find that strangely enough they too just happen to support his initial ruling.
But is this expectation correct? Certainly the appeals court judges seem to take these remands seriously. And if the above is correct, then appeals on grounds of “failing to properly consider” can be futile exercises, so why would anyone bother?
I think one good idea might be to automatically assign any remanded cases to other judges. But that has the drawback of forcing a new person to familiarize himself with the case and is therefore inefficient, and in practice is not done.
Does anyone have any actual cites or knowledge of just how common it is for these types of remands to result in substantively changed verdicts.