What the Associated Press Should Have Added to Press Releases About Scalia’s and Alito’s Current Warm-Weather Junkets

Here are the press releases dutifully passed along by the Associated Press:

HONOLULU (AP) – U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia will be teaching a class at the University of Hawaii law school.

The university says Scalia’s guest lecture Monday at the William S. Richardson School of Law will be followed by brief remarks on constitutional interpretations. He’s also expected to take questions from students.

Scalia was appointed to the nation’s highest court in 1986, which makes him the longest-serving justice currently on the court.

The 77-year-old New Jersey native isn’t expected to do any interviews or answer questions from the media.

Justice Scalia to lecture at Univ. of Hawaii, today

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is giving a lunchtime speech to a South Florida audience.

Alito is scheduled to speak Monday in West Palm Beach to a joint meeting of the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches and the Palm Beach County Bar Association. The topic of the speech wasn’t immediately available.

Alito generally votes with the nine-member court’s conservative wing. He was nominated by President George W. Bush and has served on the high court since January 2006.

Before that he was a federal appeals judge and was U.S. attorney in New Jersey.

Supreme Court Justice Alito speaking in Fla., Associated Press, today

Here’s what they should have added–and what the AP and other news organizations that report on such activities should include in every report of this sort, going forward:

The Supreme Court annually receives about 9,000 petitions, known as certiorari petitions, requesting the Court’s review of lower federal and state appellate court rulings, it hears oral argument in about 70 of those cases, usually two arguments a day, five days a month during* the first seven months of its nine-month annual term, and issues short opinions in an additional four or five cases, usually in order to reverse a lower federal appellate court’s ruling favoring a state-court criminal defendant.  In addition to its three-month summer break, the Court effectively adjourns for nearly a month for the winter holiday season, for another several weeks beginning in late January, and for two weeks in the remaining months in which it hears ten arguments.  Although the filing fee is $300, the actual cost of filing a petition totals roughly $5,000-$7,000 in order to meet the Court’s peculiar requirement that petitions be in special-publishing-house heat-press- or saddlestitch-bound, small-perimeter book form and that 40 copies be submitted.  While any litigation party who has lost a lower-court appeal and who can afford to do so is entitled to file a petition, the Court in recent decades effectively limits its annual 75 opinions mainly to cases in which the petitioner is a government or a government official or employee, or whose petition counsel is one of the approximately 30 Washington, D.C.-based Supreme Court specialists whose specialty is prompting a justice or two to open the cover of the petition on which the attorney’s name appears as counsel, for a fee of roughly $1,000 per hour. There are a few exceptions each year.

Seriously. Seriously.


*Typo-corrected word originally said “ruling” rather than “during”.  Now, the sentence makes sense.