Checking In With SCOTUS Term 2014: Civil Procedure, IFPs and Flying Pigs?

I've come to grips with it, and you should too…the Supreme Court's 2013 term is officially over.

But it's never too early to start looking at the Supreme Court's next term…right? Here's a quick breakdown of what we have to look forward to!

In addition to one case from the court's original jurisdiction (No. 126, Orig.), the justices have already agreed to hear 39 cases—37 on cert and two by direct appeal.

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Of those, seven are in criminal cases. That's roughly on pace with last term's 25-percent criminal load.

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But a whopping five of the criminal cases have been granted from IFP petitions.

In contrast, the court only heard oral arguments in six criminal IFP petitions all last term. (The court heard an IFP bankruptcy case last term too.)

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Apart from criminal cases, the court's calendar is heavy with civil procedure matters-a stat that's sure to please only the nerdiest of SCOTUS fans.

These cases range from appealable orders (excitement building!), to equitable tolling (I'm feeling faint!), to class actions and juries (Grab the tent, time to start camping out for oral argument seats!).

But don't fret, casual court watchers…there are some fascinating constitutional law and labor & employment cases on tap as well.

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On the labor & employment front, the court will consider a discrimination suit brought by a former UPS worker who was denied light duty work while pregnant (Young v. United Parcel Serv., Inc., No. 12-1226).

And in the world of constitutional law, the court will contemplate the constitutionality of an Arizona town's ordinance regulating temporary church signs (Reed v. Gilbert, Ariz., No. 13-502) and the separation of powers implications of a federal statute requiring the secretary of state to list Israel as the birthplace of a person born in Jerusalem on a U.S. passport (Zivotofsky v. Kerry, No. 13-628).

Two criminal cases even pose significant First Amendment questions: Holt v. Hobbs, No. 13-6827 (freedom of religion) and Elonis v. United States, No. 13-983 (freedom of speech).

(And don't forget that the court will also consider the little-known, 28th Amendment right to freely shred fish.)

Like the diverse mix of subject matter, the court has also grabbed cases from numerous courts.

In fact, only the First Circuit has escaped the court's gaze so far, with cases from two state courts and a district court joining the lineup.

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But the court's grants may indicate that it's ready to take a break from picking on the Sixth Circuit.

Fifteen percent of the court's docket (11 cases) last term came from the Sixth Circuit, even though it was responsible for less than 10% of the total appeals terminated in 2013 from all circuits.

Moreover, the court reversed the Sixth Circuit in 86% of those cases.

(While the court granted almost the same number from the Ninth Circuit—12 cases—that circuit terminated over 20% of the appeals in 2013. The Ninth Circuit had its own abysmal reversal rate at 92%.)

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But now the Eighth Circuit looks like it's on track to be the next red-headed step-circuit.

Fifteen percent of the cases granted so far come from the Eighth Circuit, which was responsible for less than 5% of the terminated appeals in 2013.

But who knows? Maybe the court will affirm all those cases. And maybe they'll let cameras into the courtroom to film it? And maybe, just maybe, Justice Thomas will ask more questions than anyone else?

And maybe pigs will fly over One First Street. But if they do, they better be careful, because word on the street is both Scalia AND Kagan are pretty good shots!