Monday, October 3, 2011

SCOTUS Shows Interest in Two Rehearing Petitions

Petitions for rehearing at the U.S. Supreme Court are almost always a waste of time, money, and paper.

They are denial, the first stage of grief, in writing: "Look, I know you just decided against me. But, did you really read my brief? Take a look at the same arguments in this petition. This time I used more italics." For such petitions, there is a special graveyard reserved near the end of Supreme Court order lists, known as "Rehearings Denied."

Given the long odds, it was surprising today to see the Supreme Court requesting a response to not just one, but two rehearing petitions in Smith v. Florida (09-10755) and Addison v. New Hampshire (10-8527). While a response request does not guarantee rehearing, it is an essential first step, in most cases.

As Court Rule 44.3 states, "The Clerk will not file any response to a petition for rehearing unless the Court requests a response. In the absence of extraordinary circumstances, the Court will not grant a petition for rehearing without first requesting a response."

Responses are due November 2.