Last time, as part of our review of lag time data for civil and criminal cases at the Supreme Court, we reviewed the composite lag time data – grant of review to oral argument. For this study, we’ve divided lag time data for civil cases by seven guideposts – Petition for Review filed; Petition granted; Opening Brief filed; Reply Brief filed; Last amicus or supplemental brief filed; Oral argument and decision.
Today, we’re reviewing the data for lag time from the filing of an ultimately successful petition to the grant of review. There’s a limit as to how high this number can go – according to Rule of Court 8.512(g)(1), the Supreme Court must resolve a petition for review within sixty days of the filing of the final petition (subject to the Court’s power to extend the time for a maximum of thirty days). In the data below, occasionally we’ll see a year-long average above sixty days, but that’s typically not an indication that the Court exceeded the deadline in most cases – rather, it’s an indication of a few outliers in the year’s data.
For most of the decade of the 1990s, the petition-to-grant average was between fifty and sixty days. Although the average rose to 59.93 in 1993 and 67.56 in 1997, it fell back to 54.23 days in 1999.
Petition-to-grant was a bit up for the years 2000 to 2010. The civil case average was 69.24 in 2000, 72.29 in 2002, 65.11 in 2004 and 61.91 in 2007 before settling back to 57.55 days in 2009.
In 2010, the average petition-to-grant figure was 70.66 days. It fell back to the fifties in 2011 and 2012 before rising to 60.88 days in 2013 and 62.13 days in 2015. The average fell to 59.72 days in 2016 but rose to 64.07 days in 2017. In 2018, the average was 58.15 days, and so far in 2019, the average is 54.38 days.
Join us back here next week as we address our next guidepost in the life of the Court’s civil cases.