The U.S. Supreme Court updated its website on Friday to designate Monday of next week as the first opinion issuance day of the new term, following an unusual postponement.
It will also serve as the first time Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, and Ketanji Brown Jackson announce their decisions in person since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The latest term began in October, with historical trends indicating that at least one unanimous opinion should be issued by early December. However, that didn't happen this time, with court watchers noting that it's gearing up to be one of the slowest terms ever.
"This is the first time since the court began its term on the first Monday in October in 1917 that the court has not released a slip decision through the beginning of December," wrote Adam Feldman, author of the Empirical SCOTUS blog.
"It has decelerated its decision release pace across recent years as the justices have also authored fewer majority opinions during this time," he continued, adding that it "comes at a time when the court is handling more and more issues that place it in the public spotlight."
Jaime Santos, a partner at the law firm Goodwin, told Bloomberg Law that there weren't "many easy cases in the first or second sittings that would reliably be expected to lead to a short, unanimous opinion released quickly."
"Had the October 2022 sitting looked like the January 2023 sitting, I think we could have expected a November or December opinion," Santo said.
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