I must confess to an error.
I was absolutely certain that the Courts of Appeals had to release decisions before their term ended on June 30. I was so certain that I planned my time off around this fact. I cannot tell you how certain I was that this was true.
However, when others started asking me how I knew and started making plans based on my response, I had a moral obligation to verify (or falsify) what I knew.
This is one of the principles of the ethics of belief. We cannot always hold all of our beliefs up to the light of reason and evidence, so we must pick and choose which to examine and which will go unexamined. One of the criteria for picking and choosing is the effect of asserting a proposition on others.
Anyway, I could find no confirmation that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ended its term on June 30.
That was bad enough. How was something that was so certain be so hard to verify?
Then I thought of a way to test my hypothesis - to look for decisions released in July and August (other than court business such as stays of execution that have no set time limit).
I found some.
Now, I believe that my original certain belief was wrong. We might not get an opinion on or before June 30th.
I feel horrible about this.
At the same time, there are a lot of people out there professing things to be true who do not feel a sense of obligation to double-check their reasons for believing it before they inflict costs on others. And certainty is no guarantee of truth.
Yet, the fact that a particular moral obligation is so widely ignored is not a defense of ignoring it oneself.
I offer my appologies to any who made plans based on incorrect information. I should have done this sooner.