Although we are only roughly one-third of the way through the Term, we can begin to get a firmer sense of how the final docket will look. The docket is full through the March sitting. The Court generally fills the oral argument calendar for the final sitting (April) from the three January conferences (this year, Jan. 4, 11, and 18), although that obviously could change.

Based on my review of the “paid” docket, for the January 4 conference, there is one very likely cert. grant: No. 07-343, Kennedy v. Louisiana, which asks whether it is constitutional to impose the death penalty for child rape.

Six other cases have reasonably good prospects:

* No. 07-61, Mathias v. United States (and related cases), regarding “escape” under the Armed Career Criminal Act;

* No. 07-210, Bridge v. Phoenix Bond & Indemnity, regarding the requirement of “reliance” under RICO;

* No. 07-421, WKB Assocs. v. Fair Housing Council, a case involving disability law and standing;

* No. 07-451, Schriro v. Lambert, a habeas case in which the State of Arizona is seeking cert.;

* No. 07-478, Hartmann v. Burris, an AEDPA tolling case; and

* No. 07-552, Sprint Communications Corp. v. APPC Services, an Article III standing case (disclosure, we represent the petitioner).

Other potential grants from that conference are 06-1188, Teck Cominco Metals v. Pakootas; 07-189, Kahle v. Mukasey; 07-241, McFarling v. Monsanto Co.; and 07-587, Covenant Media v. City of North Charleston. (For links to all available certiorari-stage filings in the cases mentioned above, check our latest list of petitions to watch here.)

Between thirteen and sixteen cases (the variation depends on whether last minute extensions are requested and whether we move up a case in which we represent the petitioner) are potential grants from the January 11 conference. The United States has one petition on that conference: No. 07-463, Summers v. Earth Island Institute (petition). Which other cases are likely grants will depend considerably two factors: (1) the invitation briefs likely to be filed this week by the Solicitor General in No. 06-923, MetLife v. Glenn (petition, brief in opposition, reply); No. 06-1249, Wyeth v. Levine (petition, brief in opposition, reply); and No. 06-1269, United States ex rel. Bly-Magee v. Premo (petition, brief in opposition, reply); and (2) whether we accelerate for consideration No. 07-539, Progress Energy v. Taylor. The roughly ten remaining prospects have only a fair chance.

Posted in Everything Else