The procedures by which the Supreme Court decides to grant or deny a petition for writ of certiorari are well-guarded. Unless you work, or have worked for the Court, it’s nearly impossible to appreciate the specific mechanisms which contributed to a decision on certiorari.
Thanks to Michael Kimberly (Mayer Brown LLP), John Elwood (Vinson & Elkins), and Ralph Mayrell (Vinson & Elkins), we now know a little more about the Court’s decisional methodology.
At SCOTUSblog, the authors break down the curious practice of “relisting” cases during the petition stage for additional consideration. According to the attorneys, this procedure began near the end of the October Term 2012. Coincidently (perhaps), William K. Suter stepped down as the 19th Clerk of the Court at the end of that term.
A relist occurs when the Justices consider a petition at private conference but decline to act on it, redistributing it for the following conference. The practice is now an accepted feature of the certiorari process. “