Wednesday, October 19, 2011

U.S. and states file cert response briefs

Well, no one can accuse the federal government of foot-dragging.

The United States filed two certiorari response briefs late yesterday afternoon. First, it filed a consolidated brief for cases 11-393 (NFIB v. Sebelius) and 11-400 (Florida v. HHS). (You can access that brief here.) Then it filed its response in Liberty University v. Geithner (11-438). (You can access that brief here.) Both briefs were submitted well ahead of schedule--the response in Liberty University was not due until November 10. Not to be outdone, the 26 states then filed their cert response brief in HHS v. Florida (11-398). (You can access that brief here.)

Lyle Denniston of SCOTUSblog reports on all these developments here.

This leaves only one response outstanding--that of the United States in Virginia v. Sebelius. (The parties may well file cert-stage reply briefs, but these are entirely optional. Moreover, there may be a slew of cert-stage amicus briefs.)

The next big question, then, concerns when the justices will schedule these petitions for discussion at conference. We were previously anticipating an order granting cert on December 12 (or perhaps December 9). But that date may now have moved up.