And the schedule is substantially more expedited than the DOJ had requested. Here are the relevant dates:
April 4: U.S. opening brief due
May 4: plaintiffs' brief as appellee/opening brief as cross-appellant due
May 18: U.S. reply brief/brief as cross-appellee due
May 25: plaintiffs' reply brief as cross-appellant due
Significantly, this schedule makes it possible for the court to hear the case en banc the week of June 6. Today's order notes that the plaintiffs' petition for such hearing remains pending.
Given the expedited schedules being adopted by the courts of appeals in most of the cases, it now seems clear that the Supreme Court is likely to hear and decide the case during it's 2011 October Term. And that means that the Court is likely to render it's decision before the 2012 election.