June 2, 2008

Still No Ruling On Cert. Petition in Williams II

As we noted in a prior post, the Supreme Court originally distributed the third cert. petition in Philip Morris v. Williams for consideration at its May 22 conference, but when the court issued its order list for the May 22 conference, the court did not rule on Williams II. The court then redistributed the case for consideration at its May 29 conference. Today, the order list for that conference is now available, and there's still no ruling on Williams II. Does this mean (as my co-blogger Jeremy Rosen has suggested) that the Supreme Court is planning to issue a summary reversal and they're taking additional time to draft their opinion? Are they having trouble reaching a decision on whether to grant cert.? Are they holding the case pending the disposition of the Exxon Valdez case (which seems unlikely, since the excessiveness issue in that case arises under federal common law rather than the Due Process clause, as in Williams)?

UPDATE: SCOTUSblog reports that Williams II has been re-distributed for the court's June 5 conference.

FURTHER UPDATE: A reader points out: "Actually, it is the third petition for cert. in this saga. The first was GVR'd in light of State Farm, the second granted, and now this one." Good point. We've corrected our post accordingly. We're still referring to this as Williams II for now, since the Supreme Court's opinion (if cert. is granted) will be its second in this case.