The Next Supreme Court Term

We are within six weeks of the start of the Court’s next Term, which promises to be two terms in one.  The first will consist of eight Justices.  The second will consist of nine, though when and by whom is unclear.

This leads me to wonder if next year the Court will have to forego its traditional custom of issuing all of its merits opinions by the end of June.  If there are deadlocks in cases in the first portion of the Term, presumably those cases will be held over for another argument in the second portion. If there are several of those (or if the new Justice is not confirmed until later in the Spring), can the Court finish its business by the end of June?  Seems doubtful.

It’s worth noting that Judge Merrick Garland is currently on one of the world’s longest paid vacations, as he must by tradition be recused from all cases so long as his nomination is pending.  I wonder what he does all day.

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2 Responses

  1. Joe says:

    It would help if Garland was confirmed some time in the lame duck period. O’Connor, e.g., left the Court in late January.

    I doubt they would change their policy — they have handled an eight person bench (including cases where one justice might have changed things somehow … one mechanism was handing down bland opinions) this long. A few cases can be held over.

    A recent appearance:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chicagoinc/ct-abner-mikva-obama-garland-20160808-story.html

  2. Mike Stern says:

    I suppose that he composes tweets and other social media posts, and then glumly deletes them.