Unless CAAF issues an unexpected opinion of the court in a case that hasn’t been orally argued (which, though unlikely, is possible; see, e.g., United States v. Bradford, 68 M.J. 371 (C.A.A.F. 2010)), it will issue 43 opinions of the court this term. I believe that will be the smallest number of opinions of the court that CMA/CAAF has ever issued over a one-year period.
What will next term look like? Based on current trends, it appears that the number of opinions of the court could be even smaller.
On Bastille Day, I noted my sense that CAAF’s number of grants was running ahead of a similar point last year. I was wrong. That’s why we crunch numbers rather than relying on our general sense of things.
I believe that CAAF currently has 20 cases that will likely be argued during its coming term — 17 cases with granted or specified issues and 3 caess with certified issues. (I exclude cases that appear to be trailer cases that will likely be summarily disposed of in light of the outcome of some other case.) Those 20 cases are: Blazier, Alston, Medina, Jones, Staton, White, Luke, Gooch, Savard, Flores, Prather, Stefan, Pope, Hutchins (certified issue), Watson, Savala, Rose (certified issue), Beaty, Soto, and Humphries (certified issue). If I left any out, please let me know. You can post a note below or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At this point last term, there were 23 cases with granted or specified issues and 3 cases with certified issues in a similar posture. So the number of cases in the chute for next term (20) looks like it’s 6 smaller than the number of cases in the chute at a similar point last term (26). But obviously there’s plenty of time for CAAF to pull even with or ahead of last year’s pace.
Last term, CAAF issued 46 opinions of the court. The previous five terms, it issued 65, 55, 76, 64, and 57. It appears unlikely that CAAF will return to those levels next term. Rather, the court seems more likely to fall near the 43-46 range set this term and last.