As reported in a previous edition of Looking Forward, the Oregonians In Action Legal Center filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the United States Supreme Court in the Rogers Machinery case, asking the Court to review the decision of the Oregon Court of Appeals. A recent decision by the Court provides hope that review will be granted.
As the nation’s highest court, the Supreme Court receives thousands of requests each year from citizens who want the Court to review a decision of a lower court. The Court grants very few of these requests. In fact, less than five percent of all petitions are granted by the Court. Many deserving cases are not reviewed, simply because of the number of requests made.
To determine which cases to review, the Court reviews the briefs submitted by the parties, and then schedules a conference on each case. Normally, a large number of cases will be scheduled for each conference, due to the large volume of cases the Court is reviewing. At the conference, the Court makes the determination on what to do with a case.
As a courtesy to the public and the parties involved in a case, the Court’s decision on each case scheduled for conference is usually made public within three days after the date of the conference, and sometimes on the same day as the conference.
Conference on the Rogers Machinery case was held on January 17, 2003. By January 20, 2003, the Court had made rulings on the cases scheduled for conference that day. But Rogers was not on the list. In other words, Rogers has not been accepted, but has also not been denied.
“This is a bit of an unusual action by the Court,” said Dave Hunnicutt, Executive Director of Oregonians In Action and attorney for Rogers Machinery. “It looks to me like at least some justices of the Court are interested in the case, because the Court did not immediately reject the case. But obviously a decision on whether to take the case has not been made.”
“It’s comforting to know that the Court appears not to have immediately rejected our case,” continued Hunnicutt. “Obviously, we think that the Rogers case is tremendously important to landowners throughout the United States. Because of the number of requests for review that the Court receives each year, it is still a longshot that our case will be reviewed, but the fact that the Court is still considering the case after already deciding on the other cases scheduled for conference that day is heartening.”
“We’re all keeping our fingers crossed. Hopefully, we’ll receive some good news from the Court this month.”