I’ve been thinking about my last post about docket placement and the length of time between arguments and opinion (here).
I’m curious about the effect docket placement will have one some of the important cases coming up in April. Whereas the average case takes about 92 days to come out, high-profile cases have always traditionally taken longer. The last major detainee case that the Court heard, Boumediene v. Bush took the Court 190 days to complete, nearly twice as long as the average case. al-Marri, a case likely to be heard in April, will have to be decided in about 65 days.
I’m curious about what effect the timeframe of writing might have on the opinion. More importantly, perhaps, is the deluge of other cases that have to be decided at the same time. Are Justices more likely to join each others opinions or write shorter blurbs for concurring opinions? The Court ordinarily releases between 35% and 45% of its opinions in June and, with some of those were argued as late as December, it would be hard to imagine that the huge workload on clerks doesn’t have some impact on opinions.
This April, the Court is likely to hear major cases like al-Marri, Northwest Austin (Voting Rights Act), and Ricci (Title VII and Equal Protection). Hopefully, by that point in the term the Court will have already disposed of some of the other high-profile cases on its docket like Pleasant Grove and FCC v. Fox.