Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ninth Circuit Goes For the Modern Record (9th Cir. - Nov. 11-15, 2011)

The Ninth Circuit issued no published opinions on Friday, which was not surprising, as it was Veteran's Day.  It then issued no published opinions the following Monday (yesterday).  Veteran's Day hangovers, most likely.  And today, it again issues no published opinions.  Must have been quite a bender.

That's pretty unusual.  Rarely does a day go by with no published Ninth Circuit opinions at all.  It happens around once a month.  It's very rare for this to happen on consecutive days.  Moreover, even then, it tends to occur later in the week.  Thursday and Friday, for example.  My guess being that the clerks and judges may crank out work over the weekend and as the week ends, but might occasionally fade as the weekdays progress.

There was a week back in 2009 which only saw published opinions on one of the five days that workweek:  October 13, 15 and 16 (Tuesday, Thursday and Friday) were blanks, and October 12 was Columbus  Day.  Similarly, just last month, October of 2011 saw another string of blanks, with no published opinions on October 6 and 7 (Thursday and Friday), and none on the following Monday (October 10) either.  October 10 being, yet again, Columbus Day.

So clearly there's something on with Colubus Day.  Lots of partying (and subseqeunt recovery) on that day in 2009, and apparently -- having learned their lesson two years previously -- there was a transition to tons of pre-partying instead this year.  And yeah, yeah, don't give me some cock-and-bull story about new law clerks replacing the old ones during the summer and that explaining the gaps in October arising from the lull between end-of-clerkship opinion issuance and the new clerks writing their new opinions.  We all know the judges do all the writing themselves.  Clearly what we've been seeing is entirely due to Columbus Day.

But that doesn't explain this week.  Maybe now Veteran's Day is the new (additional) Columbus Day.  Regardless, we've now seen three days in a row with no published opinions.  A blank tomorrow will set a new modern record.

Here's hoping the Ninth takes another day off.

POSTSCRIPT - On Wednesday morning, Judge Pregerson broke the streak by issuing a five-page published opinion.  The only one of the day.  But the streak is dead.  Long live the streak.