The Fourth Circuit recently issued a published, en banc opinion overruling prior circuit precedent. In an unusual move, however, the Fourth Circuit dispensed with oral argument before the entire court. Local Rule 36(a) states that the court “will publish opinions only in cases that have been fully briefed and presented at oral argument.” What procedural oddity led the Fourth Circuit to utilize Federal Appellate Rule 2 to suspend this requirement? Check out Maryland’s Appellate Blog for all the details.

In other federal news, we have already noted that the United States Supreme Court has granted certiorari in a case that could decide the future of political gerrymandering. While Republican-drawn maps in North Carolina have drawn a lot of local attention, Judge Niemeyer recently dissented from a three-judge panel’s decision to stay proceedings in a challenge to Maryland’s Democratic-drawn redistricting map. Maryland’s Appellate Blog has a different post explaining why Judge Niemeyer’s dissent is likely to garner lots of attention at the Supreme Court level.