John Elwood reviews Monday’s relists, after a fashion.

Every Nerd

Down in Nerd-ville

Liked relists a lot …

But the Grinch,

Who lived just south of Nerd-ville,

Did NOT!

The Grinch hated relists! The whole relist thingy!

Now, please don’t ask why. Who can tell with that ninny?

It could be his head wasn’t screwed on just right.

It could be, perhaps, his work schedule’s too tight.

But I think what may have most rankled the rube,

Was he was sick of the search for sight gags on YouTube.



Whatever the reason,

Billable hours or camcorders,

He hunched at his desk, just dreading the orders,

Staring down at his screen with a sour, Grinchy scowl.

He knew it’d be hours ‘fore he could throw in the towel

Because learning QPs is a trouble-filled tale

When counsel of record don’t respond to email.


Right then the Grinch thought, “I must stop this whole thing!

“Why, for seven long years I’ve put up with it now!

“I MUST stop these relists from coming!

… But HOW?

Then he got an idea!

An awful idea!



“I need vehicle problems …”

The Grinch looked around.

But for lots of the cases, there were none to be found.

Did that stop the old Grinch?

No! The Grinch simply said,

“If I can’t find such problems, I’ll make them instead.”

“I know just what to do!” the Grinch uttered, awed.

And then he dispatched a quick text to Geek Squad.

He chuckled, and clucked, “More great Grinchy turns!”

“I’ll hack PACER and introduce vehicle concerns!”

So he called the Geek, Max. And explained, to his terror,

“You must inject, on each docket, a confession of error.”

“No court would do anything quite so headstrong,

“As grant relief to a party that’s admitted it’s wrong.”


Then he slithered and slunk, with a smile disagreeable,

And returned, with a smirk, to go home in his vehicle.

“This week, and forever, there’ll be no counsel to call,

“Cause with luck, there’ll be no relists, from now on, AT ALL.”

And when next Monday came, the Nerds were not blissed

‘Cause the orders contained not a single relist.

*  *  *  *  *

Now you know that our SCOTUSblog posts are on fleek,

And it’s true: There ARE no new relists this week.

We wish to assure our readers most fearful,

Who grouse ‘cause the ending’s supposed to be cheerful

That there’s no dark conspiracy, at least not ‘bout this,

It’s just that the court’s used up all its relists.

Come next year, we’ll be sure to have relists galore.

And we’ll be able to hunt for cat videos once more.

And so let me say, ‘fore I send to the printer,

“Happy Festivus to all, and to all a good winter!”


And with that, we’ll get down to the mundane matter of actually listing this week’s relists. The court has not formally relisted these cases on the dockets; we’re inferring from inaction that certain cases are relisted and that certain others (not listed below) are being held for cases that are already on the merits docket.

Thanks for reading this year and we look forward to making 2018 the best year yet for saying, “Relist Watch used to be better!”

Thanks to Kent Piacenti for compiling the cases in this post.


New Relists

I feel so slighted that you didn’t read the great literary work above. There aren’t any!


Returning Relists

Sykes v. United States, 16-9604

Issue: Whether Missouri’s second-degree burglary statute is divisible into two offenses with separate elements for the purpose of analyzing whether a conviction under that statute qualifies as a conviction for a “violent felony” as defined in the Armed Career Criminal Act of 1984, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B)(ii).

(relisted after the October 6, October 13, October 27, November 3, November 9, November 21 and December 1 conferences; likely relisted after the December 8 conference)


Tharpe v. Sellers17-6075

Issues: (1) Whether reasonable jurists could disagree with the district court’s rejection of the petitioner’s Rule 60(b) motion, and, accordingly, whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit erred in denying a certificate of appealability; (2) whether, given the petitioner’s credible evidence that a juror voted for the death penalty because the petitioner is a “nigger,” the lower court erred in ruling that he failed to make “a substantial showing of the of the denial of a constitutional right” under 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2); and (3) whether Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado created a new constitutional claim, and, if not, whether the lower courts erred in denying the petitioner’s motion for relief from judgment under Rule 60(b)(6).

(relisted after the October 6, October 13, October 27, November 3, November 9, November 21 and December 1 conferences; likely relisted after the December 8 conference)


Serrano v. United States, 17-5165

Issue: Whether Richardson v. United States precludes a double jeopardy appeal based on evidentiary insufficiency where the jury returns a guilty verdict that is set aside for a new trial.

(relisted after the November 21 and December 1 conferences; likely relisted after the December 8 conference)


Hidalgo v. Arizona, 17-251

Issues: (1) Whether Arizona’s capital sentencing scheme, which includes so many aggravating circumstances that virtually every defendant convicted of first-degree murder is eligible for death, violates the Eighth Amendment; and (2) whether the death penalty in and of itself violates the Eighth Amendment, in light of contemporary standards of decency.

(relisted after the December 1 conference; likely relisted after the December 8 conference)

Posted in Cases in the Pipeline, Featured

Recommended Citation: John Elwood, How the Grinch stole relists, SCOTUSblog (Dec. 15, 2017, 12:19 PM),