Supreme Court returns to bench to issue opinions, but slowly

Supreme Court justices on Monday returned to the bench to issue opinions in person for the first time in nearly three years — and went one for two. The court issued

a unanimous ruling that went against a veteran who was seeking expanded benefits for a trauma he said he suffered years ago. But the court dismissed a case it heard only two weeks

ago involving a law firm’s obligation to hand over documents to a grand jury. In the court’s parlance, the case was “improvidently granted,” meaning that after oral arguments, the

justices found problems with resolving it. It is typical that the first opinions issued in cases heard in a term are low-key and unanimous. But there was added interest

Monday, because it was the first time since the covid-19 pandemic disrupted the court’s practices and traditions in March 2020 that opinions were issued from the bench, rather

than simply appearing on the court’s website. And it was apparently the longest the court has ever gone before deciding an argued case. “The 105 days between the

first oral argument and the first opinion of this term set a new record for the longest time this has ever taken the justices,” Supreme Court scholar Adam Feldman wrote on his

blog Empirical Scotus, adding “if we look all the way back to 1791 … the Court has never taken anywhere near as long to release its first opinion.” Supreme Court says it

cannot determine who leaked draft opinion There could be numerous reasons for the slow start, and the court’s investigation of the leak last May of the draft of the opinion

that overturned Roe v. Wade is a likely place to start.