First Monday in October Summary

  • Last updated on November 11, 2022

Opening day of the Supreme Court session.

In 1916 Congress moved the opening session of the Supreme Court from the second Monday in October to the first Monday in October (beginning in 1917) to allow the Court more time to handle its increasing agenda. Some rituals of first Monday include tributes offered to deceased and retired associates and court officers and judicial oaths taken by new justices.

From 1917 to 1975, opening day and week were spent in conference. The justices examined cases that were still open from the previous term and discussed new cases that appeared on the Court’s docket during summer recess. During this week agreement on which cases to accept for oral argument was reached, and the announcement of these cases was made on the second Monday of October.

At the start of the October, 1975, session, this custom was changed. Thereafter the justices gathered for their conference during the last week in September. Oral arguments started when the justices formally met on the first Monday in October.

Conference of the justices

Oral argument


Categories: History