A haze of confusion often envelops Supreme Court filers attempting to analyze the Court’s distribution schedule to determine their reply brief’s due date. After a brief in opposition has been filed, counsel for the petitioner may (but is not required to) file a reply brief to address issues raised by the respondent.
Most attorneys’ inclination is to file a reply brief sometime before the Clerk distributes the petition and brief in opposition to the Court for consideration. This is a wise practice given that the Justices’ clerks begin writing cert. pool memos on the petition shortly after distribution. Without a reply brief in hand, there is the risk that a clerk will view the respondent’s contentions without rebuttal and craft a cert. memo accordingly. See Gressman, E., et al., Supreme Court Practice, (9th ed.) at p. 509 (“To do any good, the