When Does the Supreme Court Term End?
The Supreme Court term generally ends in late June or early July each year. More specifically, the current 2022-2023 term is scheduled to conclude on June 30, 2023. This end date brings an end to the Court hearing new cases and issuing major rulings for the annual term that began back in October.
The Supreme Court’s Annual Calendar
The Supreme Court follows an annual rhythm with set times for hearing oral arguments, writing legal opinions, and taking recesses. This cycle corresponds with the Court term that starts anew each October.
The start of a new Supreme Court term kicks off on the first Monday in October. For example, the current 2022-2023 term commenced on October 3rd, 2022. This launch date starts the clock for the Court to hear cases for the next nine months and issue rulings by the end of June.
During this period, the justices review petitions for certiorari, selecting appeals court cases for the docket. Oral arguments are then scheduled from October through April.
The summer recess takes place from approximately late June/early July through September of each year. So after the term concludes on June 30th, the Supreme Court enters this quieter period for the justices to relax and prepare for the next term. Summer recess leads right into the new term starting again in October.
How Supreme Court Terms and Recesses Work
The annual Supreme Court schedule involves several phases in the life and conclusion of a term:
Hearing oral arguments, writing legal opinions, and issuing final rulings before breaking for summer recess makes completing a productive term possible.
Each term consists of hearing oral arguments in dozens of cases that will become landmark Court decisions. The justices determine in advance how many cases they can reasonably take on during the term’s oral arguments window from October through April. This allows careful consideration for writing well-reasoned opinions.
Writing Opinions and Rulings
After oral arguments conclude each April, the justices shift focus to drafting and circulating written opinions on pending cases. Some cases have decisions announced soon after argument, while complex rulings take more time to adequately address all legal issues. The heavy opinion writing phase runs April through June.
Final Opinions Issued
At the very end of the Supreme Court term, all remaining decisions are released by the justices’ self-imposed deadline. Even if an opinion is still being perfected, a final ruling must be published on outstanding cases argued earlier that term prior to summer recess.
Notable End of Term Rulings
With all written opinions due before the Supreme Court term finishes on June 30th, the last week of June often brings momentous rulings. It creates suspense and anticipation surrounding how the Court will rule in big cases from that term.
Major Decisions Issued in June
Historically, hot button issues like abortion rights, religious freedoms, immigration policies, and voting rights protections have all seen landmark rulings handed down at the tail end of Supreme Court terms. These last minute legal decisions carry extra intrigue and scrutiny.
Last Day Orders
The very last day of the term on June 30th also frequently involves interesting activity. Last minute stays of execution, emergency actions on immigration enforcement policies, and surprising orders related to controversial laws may arrive without notice. It leaves court observers watching closely up to the final hours.
Looking Ahead to the Next Term
While the Supreme Court term winds down in June, preparations for the next annual term ramp up over the summer:
Petitions for Upcoming Term
During summer recess, the justices and their law clerks use the quieter months to begin sorting through incoming petitions for hearing appeals cases. They select which appeals will make the oral argument calendar starting in October. This sets the stage for the legal issues coming before the Court in the next term.
Planning for Arguments
Behind the scenes, court staff compile schedules for oral arguments and other events for the start of the new term. The justices look ahead to cases on deck to thoughtfully prepare for hearings and subsequent opinion writing.
Every year, the Supreme Court term ends on June 30th after making influential rulings that interpreted the Constitution and shaped policies across America. Much goes on behind the scenes to finish the term strong and plan for the next year during summer recess. With the Court holding major responsibilities, completing a productive annual term with wise judgements really matters after all. We await the outcome of pending cases – and what lies ahead – as another Supreme Court term soon concludes.
Frequently Asked Questions
When does the current Supreme Court term end?
The current 2022-2023 Supreme Court term will likely conclude in late June or potentially early July 2023. The exact date changes slightly each year.
Do Supreme Court justices work year-round?
Yes. While the annual Supreme Court term frames the work year, Supreme Court justices engage in judicial duties continuously. They analyze petitions, research cases, and prepare opinions 12 months a year.
How many cases does the Supreme Court hear each term?
The Supreme Court typically hears oral arguments in around 80 or 90 cases per term out of over 7,000 petitions requesting review. Final written decisions are issued for approximately 70 cases.
What happens in between Supreme Court terms?
New petitions for review accumulate over the summer for consideration to fill the case load for the next term starting in October. Meanwhile, the justices prepare for fall oral arguments granted on pending petitions.
When will the 2023-2024 Supreme Court term begin?
The official start of the next Supreme Court term will be Monday, October 2, 2023, which is the first Monday in October as set by law.