October 24, 2011

Due to the summer argument hiatus, the California Supreme Court will go more than eight weeks without issuing an opinion

According to the Court’s website, no opinions will be filed today and, therefore, no opinions will be filed until this Thursday, October 27, at the earliest. The Court issued its most recent opinion, People v. Clark (2011) 52 Cal.4th 856, on August 29. The last civil opinion issued was Seabright Ins. Co. v. U.S. Airways (2011) 52 Cal.4th 590, which came down on August 22. So the Court will go at least 59 days without issuing any opinion, and 66 days without issuing an opinion in a civil case. You may recall that there was a similar 66-day gap between opinions earlier this year, after the Court made a push to issue opinions before the retirement of Justice Carlos Moreno.

The reason for the recent dearth of opinions is simple: per its usual custom, the Court heard no oral argument in July or August. As a result of this two-month argument hiatus, it is only to be expected that the Court would issue no opinions for a considerable period once it resumed hearing argument on September 6. Last year, there was a one-month gap in opinions after the summer hiatus (from September 1 to October 1). In 2009, the gap was roughly two months (August 31 to October 29), and there was a similar two-month gap in 2008 (August 28 to October 27).

Based on the Court’s track record, we can expect it to begin to issue opinions again quite soon. One of the most eagerly anticipated, of course, is the opinion in Perry v. Brown, S189476, the Prop 8 standing case, which was argued on September 6.

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