The Weeks Ahead

As we head into the April sitting, the court’s term is entering its home stretch. The court has already issued 43 opinions, well ahead of where it has been in the last few years.

Opinions published going into April sitting:

OT05 43
OT06 27
OT07 28
OT08 43

The reason for the increase in early opinions is that the court intentionally front-loaded its docket. With a front-loaded docket, the justices can more easily get opinions out early before the inevitable June rush.

April also brings the last two weeks of oral arguments. As noted by SCOTUSblog, the Solicitor General’s office will be participating in nine out of ten arguments during the two week sitting. Elena Kagan has yet to argue any cases for the United States and court watchers will be very curious to see which case she chooses as her first. Originally, al-Marri v. Bush was also scheduled for the term, but it was dismissed several weeks ago.

Sometime next week the court will release a hearing list that formally recognizes the attorneys slated to argue each case. It will be interesting to see which cases are assigned to the most senior advocates (Kagan, Edwin Kneedler, Neal Katyal) and which arguments are given to lower-ranking members (Michael Dreeben, Malcolm Stewart, Lisa Blatt, Matthew Roberts, William Jay, Toby Heytens, Eric Miller, Deanne Maynard) in order to decrease the burden on each individual advocate.

Aside from the SG, I’m not at all sure which advocates will be participating in the April sitting. Gregory Coleman from Austin, Texas will be arguing in both Ricci v. DeStefano and Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District No. 1 v. Holder on Wednesdays, April 22 and April 29, respectively. Thomas Goldstein will be arguing in Horne v. Flores on Monday, April 20. Seth Waxman will likely be arguing in Cuomo v. The Clearing House Association on Tuesday, April 28.

I will be traveling to Washington to hear arguments in Ricci v. DeStefano, the case in which I filed my first amicus brief.

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