I was wondering what was happening on the Valerie Plame appeal, so I thought I'd check the SCOTUS website.
But first, a brief background.
The Federal District Court for the District of Columbia has ordered reporters Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper to tesify before Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald's grand jury, or face jail on contempt charges.
A three-judge panel of the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that order, and then the full Appeals Court declined to review it en banc.
Miller and Cooper then petitioned the SCOTUS for review, and now it seems that the SCOTUS is ready to decide whether to wade into the Plame morass.
Now here's the news: On June 7, 2005, SCOTUS distributed the cert petition in Cooper and Miller (the Plame cases) for the Court's Conference of Thursday, June 23, 2005.
The Court usually rules on cert petitions on the Monday after the Thursday conference on which it is considered.
That means, in the ordinary case, the SCOTUS will announce whether it will review the Plame matter on Monday, June 27, 2005.
(Of course, it being the Supreme Court, they can always postpone their decision to a later time. However, the ordinary practice is to announce decision on cert. petititions the Monday after the Thursday in which the petition is scheduled for conference.)
So what will happen on Monday, June 27, 2005?
If the SCOTUS grants certiorari, then the issues in the case will hopefully be briefed and argued next year, and resolution of the matter will be further delayed.
If the SCOTUS denies certiorari, then the case will be remanded back to the district court, and Miller and Coooper will have to decide, in short order, whether to testify or go to jail.
If they choose to go to jail, then they're in jail for 18 months, after which, assuming they don't crack and decide to testify beforehand, Fitzgerald will be forced to close his investigation without Miller and Cooper's testimony.
If they choose to testify, then they will probably do so in short order, after which Fitzgerald will probably wrap up his investigation and perhaps issue indictments against senior administration officials.
If that's the case, it could be a hot hot summer!