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Monday, April 06, 2020

The Supreme Court's Term

The Supreme Court will not hold oral arguments until further notice. I do not have a firm opinion on when they should resume or how they should be held. But I do have one relevant observation--there is time.

Contrary to some reporting in the press, the Court's Term does not end in late June. The Term ends in early October. The October timeframe is in an Act of Congress. The June deadline is just a tradition started long ago to allow the Justices to escape the hot Washington DC summer. Thus, nothing prevents the Court from hearing some cases in July or August and then deciding them.

I am unclear, frankly, what the legal relevance of a Supreme Court Term is anyway. Suppose an argued case is not decided by October. Does that mean that they have to start over again as a new Congress would with a bill? No. They can just carry the case over to the next Term, though what the formality of that is I don't know. 

Thus, the Court can easily wait a couple of months, decide which cases need its immediate attention, set those for argument, and decide them before the new  Term begins. Or after the new Term starts.

Posted by Gerard Magliocca on April 6, 2020 at 08:19 AM | Permalink


Great article to be read. It is an amazing collection of beautiful thoughts

Posted by: Paycheck Warriors at Barkan Meizlish, LLP | May 7, 2020 4:07:04 AM

Why hold any oral arguments at all? Just go ahead and decide the cases on the briefs. It is hard to believe that oral argument ever really affects a justice's vote. And even in the rare cases when it does change a vote, there is no real way to determine whether it is changed for the better.

Posted by: Steven Lubet | Apr 7, 2020 9:57:57 AM

Good points; agreed. At least one thing we don't have to worry about!

Posted by: Margaret Ryznar | Apr 6, 2020 4:17:23 PM


Posted by: Orin Kerr | Apr 6, 2020 3:58:18 PM

Agreed. And they have had summer arguments not so long ago, such as Felker v. Tupin, argued June 3, 1996 and decided June 28, 1996 (and, as it happens, the first Supreme Court argument I ever attended).

Posted by: Orin Kerr | Apr 6, 2020 3:57:49 PM

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