Monday, June 28, 2021

Extra OT

The end of June usually marks the conclusion of the U.S. Supreme Court's October Term, when the Court issues the last of its opinions in cases argued since the start of the term in the previous fall. Last term, with disruptions to Court operations and argument sittings in the spring of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Court's final ten opinions of OT19 were issued in July.

This week, the Court has five opinions left to issue from the 2020 October Term. Will they successfully conclude the term before the end of the month, or push into July for the second year in a row? Court-watchers will be following the activities at One First Street closely this week. To join them, you can visit SCOTUSblog, which live-blogs order and opinion release days at the Court beginning at 9:30 am Eastern time.

SCOTUSblog's FAQ page on Announcements of Orders and Opinions provides some additional detail about the process. Although the Court highlights opinion release days on its public calendar, the Court does not announce ahead of time which opinions will be released, or even how many opinions will be released on that particular day. Because opinions are announced in reverse seniority order (meaning the opinions drafted by newer justices are released first, working up to the opinion written by the most senior justice on the Court for that day's release), Court-watchers can deduce which opinion will be the last for a particular day by the appearance of a number that indicates the release day's opinion order for the published U.S. Reports volume.

Once released, the latest slip opinions are posted to the Court website and, of course, made available on the various legal research services like Westlaw and Lexis. Commentary and analysis of the latest opinions can be found on SCOTUSblog, in The United States Law Week (on Bloomberg Law), the ABA Journal and mainstream news outlets like the New York Times and the Washington Post. The American Bar Association also publishes the Preview of United States Supreme Court Cases, whose eighth issue in each volume reviews the entire previous year's Court term.

For additional information and resources about researching the Court, check out the library’s research guide to the U.S. Supreme Court or Ask a Librarian.