Thursday, May 29, 2014
A recent article by Harvard Professor Richard Lazarus shows that U.S. Supreme Court opinions aren’t as final as they may seem. New Supreme Court decisions always carry the caveat that they are subject to revision for “typographical or other formal errors” before publication in United States Reports. But sometimes it takes several years before the Court issues its “‘final’ and ‘official’ opinion.” And Justices sometimes make significant substantive changes in the interim, as in the recent cases Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003), and Environmental Protection Agency v. EME Homer City Generation, L.P, 134 S. Ct. 1584 (2014). Lazarus’s article discusses what constitutes a “formal” change, whether notice of changes is or should be provided, and what problems the Court’s current process creates.
hat tip: Ralph Brill