The Rarity of November Decisions in Argued Cases

Rumours that one or more Supreme Court opinions will be issued tomorrow have fueled speculation about whether we might get a decision on one of the S.B.8 cases. Heard the Court Whole Woman’s Health, v. Jackson And United States v. Texas Perhaps this speculation was well-founded, as the Court considered it on an urgent basis. It was expedited by the Court. Ramirez v. Collier, Also, a death penalty case is possible. This is another option.

The Court is speculating that it will rule on one or both of the S.B.8 cases today because, unlike recent years, they rarely issue opinions in November argued cases, most of which were written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

This is a summary of the most recent Supreme Court November and October decisions.

OT2021: Two per curiam opinions were issued in October. They weren’t in an argued matter. We will see what November has in store.

OT2020-Three per curiam opinions in November; none in an argument case.

OT2019 — One per curiam opinion in November. Not in an argued matter.

OT2018 – In November, two signed opinions were filed in argued cases. Mount Lemmon Fire District v. GuidoJustice Ginsburg Wyerehauser Co. v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (by Chief Justice Roberts). They were both unanimous.

OT2017- There were two per curiam opinions in November. They weren’t issued in an argument case. Unanimous, signed opinion in an appeal. Hamer v. Neighborhood Housing Services of ChicagoJustice Ginsburg

OT2016: One percuriam opinion for November. Not in an argument case. One signed, unanimous opinion in Bravo-Fernandez v. United States(by Justice Ginsburg; Justice Thomas had an concurrence).

OT2015-One per curiam opinion in November and October, but none in an argued instance.

OT2014: One percuriam opinion for October, three percuriam opinions for November and none in an argument case.

This shows that signed opinions in cases that are being argued in November tend to be very rare. The few that we do get tends to be fairly straightforward opinions from cases that have produced unanimous opinions. The Court’s Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a frequent signer of an opinion. The Court’s merit docket is shrinking. However, this has allowed the justices to spend more time working on opinions in the Fall.

If the Court was forced to give a signed opinion on an unarguable case, it wouldn’t be normal for them to do so tomorrow. 8 cases. Tomorrow, we’ll know if it is.