The New York Times points out a bit of information that seems to have gone unnoticed elsewhere.
Namely, that the Supreme Court - in this time rife with conflict and vexing issues - finds itself with time on its hands because the number of cases on its docket has dwindled down to a record low number. From that Times article:
On the Supreme Court’s color-coded master calendar, which was distributed months before the term began on the first Monday in October, Dec. 6 is marked in red to signify a day when the justices are scheduled to be on the bench, hearing arguments.So what do you think is up in Scotus-ville?
The courtroom, however, was empty on Wednesday, and for a simple reason: The court was out of cases. The question is, where have all the cases gone?
Last year, during his Senate confirmation hearing, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said he thought the court had room on its docket and that it “could contribute more to the clarity and uniformity of the law by taking more cases.”
But that has not happened. The court has taken about 40 percent fewer cases so far this term than last. It now faces noticeable gaps in its calendar for late winter and early spring. The December shortfall is the result of a pipeline empty of cases granted last term and carried over to this one.