The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals officially comes out of sine die on Wednesday, September 3, 2014 to begin its Fall Term. The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals is statutorily required to hold two terms every year, with the Spring Term beginning on the second Tuesday in January and the Fall term beginning on the first Wednesday in September. The time period between terms is called “sine die,” a Latin phrase meaning “without day.” When the Court is in session during the Spring and Fall Terms, the justices hear cases and deliver opinions, among other administrative matters. During sine die, however, the work does not stop. The justices and their staffs use this period to prepare for the upcoming term.
The Fall Term is often seen as notoriously short, with much work to be done in the few short months before the start of the Spring term. According to the most recent docket calendar posted on the Supreme Court’s website, the Court is currently scheduled to hold oral arguments on ten separate days during the Fall Term. As of now, oral arguments will be held during September and October, with November reserved for conferences and finalizing of opinions. If the September docket is any indication, the Fall term is shaping up to be a very busy term. The Court is currently set to hear oral argument in thirty one separate cases during the month of September alone. A similar number is likely for the month of October. Cases which reach the Court’s oral argument calendar represent only a small percentage of the matters decided by the Court in a given term, with administrative matters and memorandum decisions in non-oral argument cases filling out the Court’s schedule. Memorandum decisions have already been issued thirty-nine cases, several days in advance of the official start of the Fall Term.
The Fall Term also brings two special days on the Court’s calendar. The first will occur on Tuesday, September 16 when the Supreme Court travels to Marshall University to hold oral arguments. Part of a program to bring the Court to the people, the Court will hear oral arguments in four separate cases on that date. The second special day of the Fall Term will occur sometime in October when all those who have passed the July bar examination are moved for admission to practice law in the State of West Virginia. This is a day enjoyed by the Justices as well as the new admittees as personal touches are often added to the admission motions. It is also a time where the formality of the Court is relaxed somewhat to permit photographs of the memorable occasion. Often, a Justice while make a personal comment to a new admittee welcoming them to the practice of law and making the day even more special.
The quick start to the Fall Term, including the number of decisions already issued, provides a strong indication that the West Virginia Supreme Court will be very busy this fall. Check back with www.wvscblog.com on a regular basis in the coming months as the attorneys at Bordas & Bordas keep you posted on significant events happening at the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.