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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Monday, June 20, 2005

No news is [pick one: good / bad] news...

For those curious to hear what happened with Scheidler v. NOW this morning, the answer is nothing. Although the petition was on the Supeme Court's schedule for the June 16th conference (delayed one week already, from the June 9th conference), no mention of the case is to be found in this morning's Order List [PDF]. It's possible, albeit unlikely, that the reason for the delay has nothing whatsoever with the merits of Scheidler's petition [PDF]. More likely, the delay signifies that some more substantive action is in the works than mere issuance of the one-word disposition, "Denied," which could easily have been issued today (or last Monday for that matter).

While denial of review remains a distinct possibility, the Court's decision may also be either a grant of certiorari, with or without a summary reversal (and with or without an accompanying opinion of the Court), or it could be the issuance of a writ of mandamus (compelling the lower courts to implement the high Court's mandate from February 26, 2003, when it ruled for Scheidler and his co-defendants 8-1 [PDF]). If review is denied, that could be accompanied by a dissenting opinion on the part of one, two or three Justices. (A vote of four would suffice to give the petitioners another plenary review, while a vote of five at this point would win the case for Scheidler right now "on paper," either by summary reversal or writ of mandamus.)

Stay tuned...although the Court could issue a an Order between now and next Monday -- perhaps on Thursday when it is next scheduled to release opinions -- a more likely prospect is that the decision might come in next Monday's scheduled Order List. Referencing an earlier post, it seems that it is not too late to say some Aves and Paters on behalf of Joe Scheidler, his co-defendants, and their families.