What is Next for the Court?

Essentially, very little is left for the Supreme Court although they still have one major oral argument in April. After their conference this Friday where they likely will take initial tallies in the health care cases, they will adjourn officially and have no court business until April 13 when they will again conference and decide on whether to grant, hold, or dismiss more cases for the October 2012 term. It should be noted that they are understandably behind the pace of previous years in granting cases for the next term.

On the 16th, they will hear oral arguments on a case involving the FLSA and outside salesmen, there will be two cases heard on the 17th about sentencing guidelines and an Indian case on the 18th followed by a conference on the 20th. The following week they will hear two more Indian cases, one on bankruptcy law and the granddaddy is saved for last- Arizona v. United States and Arizona’s immigrant law. They will then conference on the 27th of April.

Although all oral arguments will be completed on April 25th, the Court still meets publicly and privately through May. In May, they have public sessions on the 14th, 21st, and 29th. They are the scheduled ones although they sometimes add dates. During these sessions, they issue opinions and release whether they have accepted, dismissed, or are holding cases for the next term. There is nothing officially scheduled for June although this is usually the month where they release some of their most controversial decisions, or ones that are 5-4 or have stinging dissents. Then they will adjourn for the summer. Expect the health care decisions to come down on the last possible day in June. It would be surprising if they came earlier.

Besides the health care and Arizona immigration law cases, we are still waiting on opinions of interest. They include the probable final resolution of the NYPD Blues moment of nudity case, the case out of New Jersey regarding strip searches in jails (detailed in a previous entry), whether juveniles can be sentenced to life without possibility of parole for murder in violation of the Eighth Amendment, and whether the Stolen Valor Act violates Free Speech rights. This is shaping up as one of the most controversial and groundbreaking years for the Supreme Court where a lot held near and dear to both Conservatives and Liberals are at stake. This is potentially the year that John Roberts can definitely define the Court.