The next few weeks are sure to be busy ones on the Court. The Court has an astonishing 26 cases left on its docket and all of those will receive an opinion before the end of June. Last year the Court released 22 cases in the same period (second through fourth weeks in June.) The remaining cases are sure to excite; they include Boumediene (Guantanamo Bay detainees), Heller (DC gun ban), and Exxon (punitive damages).
The Supreme Court today announced that they will be hearing three-cases per day instead of the normal two cases during October and November sessions in an effort to curb the late-June onslaught of cases. The Court has already accepted 28 cases for OT08, and if it plans to hear 3-a-day for October and November, it will need at least 33 to cover those two months. Add in another 6-12 for December and the Court will need to accept at least 11 more cases before the end of June (unless it is willing to seriously abridge the briefing process and force council to argue three months after their cases is accepted by the Court.)
The change shouldn’t effect much in the way of substantive Constitutional matters but it is an interesting reflection on the dynamics of the Roberts Court. Chief Justice Roberts is obviously willing and excited about making changes to spread out the docket and make it as fair as possible to all the parties involved. Its hard to say why he finds it so important to avoid the inevitable procrastination of cases to June. I say that it is inevitable because even with the change to the schedule, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a number of the high-profile cases extend well beyond the normal timeframe for deliberation.
The Court is expected to release the official schedule on Monday along with a few cases. I expect at least three to be handed down today.