Supreme Court Rules, Practices, and Traditions

The Term

Does the Court ever meet outside of its traditional term time?

Yes, the Court sometimes holds special sessions in important cases. For example, the Court held a special session on July 19, 1942, to hear the case of Ex Parte Quirin to determine whether alleged German saboteurs were entitled to a federal habeas corpus review of their military commission convictions. More recently, the Court called a special session to hear the case of McConnell v. Federal Election Commission in September 2003. The case involved a major First Amendment challenge to the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, a federal law restricting “soft money” spending and other funding restrictions in political elections.


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