On Monday afternoon, Bryan Boyd, Clerk of the Supreme Court of North Carolina, informed affected counsel that the December 2016 oral argument calendar–previously  scheduled for the week of December 12– has been cancelled.  The affected cases have not yet been rescheduled.

With Justice-elect Michael Morgan set to join the bench in January 2017, speculation is whirling as to whether the Supreme Court is seeking to wrap up cases before Justice Edmunds’ departure.  Or is something else driving this?

Interestingly, the Supreme Court has held December oral arguments only twice in the past 8 years (2015 & 2008). This year, however, is the first time in at least 8 years that the Court has not held oral arguments in November.    See here.

Regardless, the rapid scheduling of oral arguments that litigants used to experience at the Supreme Court may be changing.   In years past, cases were sometimes scheduled for oral argument before the briefing was completed (with counsel begging for just a few extra days to finish up their briefs). As of today, it appears that Supreme Court cases that completed briefing in October may not be scheduled for oral argument until March or April 2017, or later.

Anyone have insight on this latest development?  Let us know in the comments below.

–Beth Scherer