The 2011-2012 term of the United States Supreme Court begins Monday, October 3, 2011, the first Monday in October. In most terms, the Court usually completes its work by the following July 1. Of the approximately 10,000 petitions filed with the Court each term, very few cases are granted review and receive signed opinions.
Many interesting cases are on the 2011 October Term docket, including the indecent broadcast regulations case between the FCC and Fox Television and the 4th amendment case dealing with the warrantless use of a GPS tracking device. Two great sources for learning about the new term are the ABA’s Preview of the United States Supreme Court Cases and Scotus Blog. Preview is published eight times during the term. Each issue provides a concise analysis of cases granted review and summarizes decisions reached by the Court. The Preview website links the researcher to a list of the cases granted certiorari for the 2011-2012 term with links to the merits briefs filed in each case. Scotus Blog provides comprehensive coverage and discussion of the Supreme Court and generally reports on every merits case before the Court at least three times: before argument; after argument; and after decision.
In preparing for the new term, you may also want to look back at earlier terms. At the end of each term, a number of journals and blogs provide a wealth of information on the types of cases heard by the Court, a breakdown of cases by major subject areas, analysis of key cases and opinions, and discussion of interesting voting trends. For example, the eighth issue of Preview is a special issue devoted to a review of the newly completed term. Harvard Law Review devotes its November issue to coverage of the previous term and the Scotus Blog provides a comprehensive end-of-term statistical analysis. As noted in the analysis of this past term, the Court decided a total of 82 merits cases. That number includes 75 signed opinions, five summary reversals, and two cases that were affirmed by an evenly divided court. End-of-term reviews are a great way to learn more about the work of the nation’s highest court.
FCC v. Fox Television Stations, No. 10-1293, 613 F. 3d 317 (2d Cir. 2010) http://www.americanbar.org/publications/preview_home/10-1293.html
United States v. Jones, No. 10-1259, 615 F.3d 544 (D.C. Cir. 2010)