Thursday, September 28, 2017

First Monday 2017

Monday, October 2 marks the opening of the U.S. Supreme Court's new October term. The "First Monday in October" has been the Court’s official start date for more than a century, and is codified at 28 U.S.C. § 2 (2012).

As shown in the 1916 law's compiled legislative history, available to the Duke University community in the ProQuest Legislative Insight database, the change to "first Monday" (from the second Monday in October) was intended "to shorten the vacation and give the court an extra week when the weather is favorable to work." In the House debate printed in the Congressional Record, Illinois representative James Robert Mann expressed his concern that since the change "is a matter largely of the convenience of the members of the Supreme Court, may I ask […] that that change is entirely satisfactory to them?" (He was assured that the change was actually at the Justices' request.) While inclement weather was likely a greater cause for concern to the justices of yesteryear, the "first Monday in October" has remained consistent since it became effective in 1917.

You can learn more about the OT2017 cases at the U.S. Supreme Court's recently-redesigned website, which provides access to Court calendars and links to case documents. The commercial website SCOTUSblog is another great resource for keeping up with the Court's upcoming term. Each SCOTUSblog case page (for example, the three consolidated employment arbitration cases which will be the subject of the term's first oral argument) contains links to available filings on an easy-to-read docket sheet.

Also new this term are revised Rules of the Court which will become effective on November 13. As noted in the Court's press release, the changes pave the way for a long-planned electronic filing system, which is also scheduled to launch on November 13. The new rules, as well as the current rules in effect through November 12, can be found on the Supreme Court's Rules and Guidance page.

To learn more about the history and operations of the U.S. Supreme Court, visit the Goodson Law Library's research guide or Ask a Librarian.