Used to be, if you asked for oral argument, your case was scheduled for oral argument. Occasionally, argument would be cancelled at the last minute. Not anymore.
The Sixth Circuit is trying to cut down its backlog of cases and decide all cases in a more expeditious manner. To do that, they are scheduling some cases for telephone argument. Other cases are being issued "on brief day set" notices that do not acknowledge the request for oral argument.
On the plus side, cases are being decided faster. I've received six or seven opinions in the last three weeks. I have a case scheduled for telephone argument later this month where briefs were turned in just last April. Normally, there's a ten- to twelve-month wait for argument.
Also, case managers are attaching instructions to briefing schedule letters. Please take a moment to look at those, as there are some changes to how we normally write and file briefs. Seems there's a shake-up afoot at the Sixth Circuit.