October Term 2008, by Thomas C. Goldstein and Ben Winograd


As the Court approached the start of October Term 2007, it faced a severe docket crunch. The justices had agreed to decide only 26 cases, well below the number needed to fill the fall argument calendar. At the conclusion of the summer recess, the shortfall forced the Court to expedite briefing schedules in numerous cases granted to avoid canceling the January argument session outright. Over the course of the term, it never caught up. While the Court managed

to fill its calendar for three of the final four argument sessions, in total the justices heard argument in only 70 cases, the lowest figure in more than 50 years.1

By contrast, the Court enters October Term 2008 having accepted a comparatively plentiful 43 cases for argument. Ordinarily, that total would be sufficient to fill the Court?s argument calendar well into January or February. In a switch from past terms, however, the Court has scheduled three arguments (rather than two) on most days in the October and November sittings, and is expected to hear

only one argument per day during the spring. By frontloading the calendar, Chief Justice John Roberts has said, the Court would have more time to finish opinions over the winter recess and thereby avoid its usual crunch at the end of the term.2

The cases for the term, of course, span an array of substantive areas.

Please read full article for more. (This article is from the Cato Supreme Court Review 2007-2008).

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