In Caetano v. Massachusetts, the Mass. Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the state could categorically ban stun guns. A cert petition was filed on June 1, 2015. The state (unsurprisingly) waived a response. After the first conference on July 2, 2015, the Court requested a response. It was then scheduled for conference on November 13; and relisted for November 24, December 4, and December 11. On December 8, the Court requested the record from the SJC, which took all of six days to deliver a single envelope. The case was the listed for the January 8, 2016 conference; and relisted for January 15, January 22, February 19 (note the missing conference due to Justice Scalia’s memorial), March 4, and finally March 18. Today, nine months after the initial cert petition was filed, following 11 conferences, the Court GVRd the case, with a blistering concurring opinion by Justices Alito and Thomas.
I will discuss the merits of Caetano in another post, but wanted to focus here on the bizarre posture. Does anyone recall a petition that was relisted this many times to ultimately wind up in a GVR? Usually after many relists, we get a dissent from denial of certiorari, but not a GVR. Could it be that the concurring opinion pushed the rest of the Court to GVR?