This is a post that will likely interest only avid court watchers.

I overlooked something as last December wound to a close. In recent years, the Court has issued a formal order formally carrying forward cases to the next term. In December 2007, I even wrote two posts about it.

This year: No order.

That breaks a trend that goes back at least five years (2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003).

The order always struck me as pleasantly old-fashioned, the kind of order that was probably necessary at some point (when court terms were much more formal) but now is a friendly year-end tradition.

So what does this year’s absent order mean? About as much as being left off the Court’s holiday card list.

The order doesn’t seem to affect what it claims to — whether cases are carried forward. For example, the Court also took a short break from issuing the order in 2001 and 2002, after having done it in 2000, 1999, 1998, and 1997. (( The year 1997 is not the beginning of history. It’s just the start of the court’s online archives. )) I’m not aware of any cases that suffered as a result.

I suspect that the Court just didn’t have other orders to issue this year and didn’t want to issue a single-order list with this historical curiosity.