The plaintiffs’ requests would have sped up the cases by having the parties forgo the filing of jurisdiction statements (essentially skipping one step in the process) and setting an expedited briefing schedule. This would have allowed the high court to consider whether to take the cases at its January 5, 2018 conference.
The denial of the plaintiffs’ requests means that Texas will have until October 17 and 27 to file jurisdiction statements on the congressional and state house rulings respectively. The plaintiffs then will have up to 30 days to ask the court to dismiss the appeals or summarily affirm (though they could file early to try to expedite the timeline). The state then will have 14 days to file a reply.
At the same time, the plaintiffs have filed cross appeals because while they won many things in the court’s rulings (which the state is appealing), both the congressional and state house rulings also denied some of the relief the plaintiffs wanted. That means a parallel briefing process will play out in conjunction with the cross appeals. The plaintiffs will start by filing jurisdiction statements which are due November 13 and 27 respectively (although they could choose to expedite the process early). The state would have up to 30 days after they file their jurisdiction statements to file a motion to dismiss or have the court summarily affirm and the plaintiffs would have up to 14 days to file a reply.
Afterwards, the cases would be submitted to the Justices to decide whether to hear oral argument. If they take the cases, there would be another round of briefing, known as “briefing on the merits” before the court actually hears argument. Texas also could delay the process by asking for extensions of time – something that often happens in cases before the Supreme Court.
At this juncture, it is hard to say exactly when briefing will be complete or when the cases will reach the Justices since a lot will depend on whether parties will file briefs early or, conversely in the case of the State of Texas, take its full allotted time to file its papers. It is still possible the cases could reach the Justices by early January or perhaps earlier. But it is possible to see the first round of briefing being dragged out into the new year.