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Switch to new docket

The Supreme Court, following its usual custom after issuing its final rulings in a Term, has begun docketing cases for the next Term — the 2006 Term, which begins officially this Fall. The 2005 docket numbers ended with 05-1671, docketed on June 27, and the new numbers, of course, start with 06-1, docketed on June 28.

The final 2005 case (1671) was Canas v. Al-Jabi, involving time limits for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit involving a child. The first new docket case (01) is Averill Park Central School District v. Cioffi, a public employee free-speech case involving a school athletic director who claimed he lost his job after protesting a high school hazing incident.

The final number of regular cases (“paid cases” as opposed to prisoners’ “pauper cases”) filed in the Term just ended continues a recent general decline in those filings, with the decline barely interrupted between 2003 and 2004, when there was a slight annual rise. The decline from the 2000 Term is quite dramatic — there were 283 fewer cases in the 2005 Term. It may be that this trend is a contributor to the decline in the number of cases the Court has agreed to hear in recent Terms.

Here are the figures:
2000 Term — 1954 paid cases
2001 — 1886
2002 — 1869
2003 — 1722
2004 — 1741
2005 — 1671