The Supreme Court today announced it would hear arguments in only three cases next month. That continues a string of light calendars. There haven’t been more than five arguments in a month since the court heard seven cases last June. Yesterday, the court heard just two arguments on its January calendar.

The small number of oral arguments might be due in part to Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar’s retirement at the end of October.  He did not sit on any arguments after September.  Vacancies hamper the court because, among other things, the court typically delays scheduling arguments in cases where the six permanent justices are tentatively evenly divided.

Like all calendars since April 2020, and for the foreseeable future, the February calendar will be remote and based in San Francisco.  (See herehereherehere, and here.)  The arguments will be live streamed, as all arguments have been since May 2016.

Because of the vacancy caused by Justice Cuéllar’s retirement, a Court of Appeal justice will be sitting on each of the February cases.  The pro tems have yet to be chosen and will be assigned on a mostly alphabetical basis.

On February 2, the court will hear the following cases (with the issue presented as summarized by court staff or limited by the court itself):

Conservatorship of the Person and Estate of Eric B.: Does equal protection require that persons subject to a conservatorship under the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 5350) have the same right to invoke the statutory privilege not to testify as persons subject to involuntary commitments under Penal Code section 1026.5 after a finding of not guilty by reason of insanity? The court granted review in June 2020. (More about the case here.)

In re Christopher L.: When it granted review in February 2021, the court limited review to: “Is it structural error, and thus reversible per se, for a juvenile court to proceed with jurisdiction and disposition hearings without an incarcerated parent’s presence and without appointing the parent an attorney?” (More about the case here.)

People v. Bloom: This is an automatic direct appeal from a January 2001 judgment of death.  The court’s website does not list issues for death penalty appeals.  Counsel was appointed in September 2003. Initial briefing was completed in May 2014.

[January 21 update: Pro tems announced for February calendar.]