Here's another way to get out of an en banc call.
The Ninth Circuit initially renders a split opinion on an issue of California law. There's a petition for rehearing and rehearing en banc. Presumably one that's getting some traction.
The initial opinion had dealt with this issue on the merits. Neither the majority nor the dissent thought it was important to get the California Supreme Court's take.
But given the resulting fight, they -- as well as (presumably) the losing party -- now thought: "Let's moot this thing. Let's certify the question to the California Supremes."
So today, that's what they do.