Breaking News

New StatPack, Plus a Docket Update

A new StatPack is available, and it can be downloaded here.

Additionally, we periodically write posts (see here for the latest one) with updates on the state of the docket, and with four Conferences to go until the Summer Recess, it’s time for another rundown of the Court’s caseload for OT08.

After granting cases at a rate substantially above its usual pace, the Court has essentially turned off the spigot, as over the last five Conferences, only one case has been granted and placed on the docket for OT08. By contrast, over the previous five conferences (which spanned seven weeks as opposed to only five), the Court granted 16 cases. Still, with 28 cases on the docket already for OT08, the Court remains on track to increase the number of cases it hears next Term over this one, and by a not insignificant amount. As can be seen on the grant chart in the new StatPack, the pace this Term is still above our “steady-rate” line for achieving 78 grants over the course of a year.

Moreover, as the chart reveals, the Court tends to increase the rate at which it accepts cases during the month of June. There are three principle reasons for this: the maneuvering, in several significant cases, of counsel who desire to have their cases considered before the Summer Recess; the pragmatic need of the Court to fill its October, November, and December argument docket before departing for the Summer; and the Solicitor General’s regular practice of submitting outstanding invitation briefs to the Court in May, just in time for the petitions to be considered and acted upon before the Summer Recess. Indeed, this Term could see an especially large bump in grants due to this last group of cases. In thirteen briefs submitted by the Solicitor General, the U.S. has recommended outright grants in four cases (Harbison, Amschwand, Hulteen, and Pac Bell). If past is prologue, the Court may also grant review in some cases where the SG recommends denial.

Though no one can predict the exact number of grants from this group – the Court is not bound by the recommendation of the Solicitor General, after all – these thirteen cases will likely prove to be far more fruitful for the Court than last spring’s bunch, when the SG submitted only seven briefs and recommended a grant in only one of those. Ultimately, the Court added to its docket not only the recommended grant (LaRue) but also two others in which a denial was recommended (Rowe and Riegel). Given this year’s submissions, it’s a fair bet that more than three grants will emerge from the new batch of CVSG’s. Thus, along with any other non-CVSG grants before the summer, it’s quite likely that the court will slightly overshoot the thirty-two argument slots on the docket for this October, November, and December (assuming two arguments per day). If so, it will be the first time the Court has done so since 2005.

There are four more Conferences before the summer, and our list of petitions to watch for tomorrow’s Conference can be found here, June 5 here, and June 12 here. The list for the final Conference will be posted next week. (UPDATE: the list for the June 19 conference is now here.)