The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
By statute, the Supreme Court convenes on the first Monday in October. And, by custom, the Supreme Court hands down opinions on the last Monday in June. There were opinions on Monday June 29, 2020, Monday, June 24, 2019, Monday June 25, 2018, Monday, June 26, 2017, Monday, June 27, 2016, Monday June 29, 2015, Monday, June 30, 2014, Monday, June 24, 2013, Monday, June 25, 2012, and Monday June 27, 2011. In light of this long-standing practice, I expected the Court would handdown opinions today. And I wasn't alone. Several SCOTUS reporters predicted that there would be opinions today.
All weekend long, I kept refreshing the Supreme Court's website. Nothing. On Sunday evening around midnight, I called the SCOTUS opinion hotline. There were no updates since Friday afternoon. Monday morning came. The Court posted orders at 9:30 ET. And at 10:00 ET, nothing. For the first time in at least a decade, there were no opinions on the last Monday in June. What happened?
There are five outstanding cases. The two biggest decisions are Thomas More Law Center v. Bonta and Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee. The latter case involves the Voting Rights Act. Could it be that the opinions are going through revisions in light of DOJ's recent Section 2 suit filed on Friday? Even if the majority opinion doesn't change, the dissent may try to address the Georgia case, even if indirectly. I questioned General Garland's decision to announce the case before Brnovich. The risk of filing early is that the Court's decision could require revising the complaint. But the upshot is that the complaint could motivate the Justices to say helpful things. The Court does not exist in a vacuum.
If more time is needed for Brnovich, then the other cases may be held up as well. The Chief may have a preference to decide all of the cases in one day. And as of this morning, the Court still has not announced any other decision days. To avoid going into July, we are looking at Tuesday and/or Wednesday.