Issuing preliminary opinions for public comment is similar to rehearings. The difference is that parties outside of the litigation are able to add commentary. Judges would then reevaluate the preliminary opinion, consider the submitted comments, and then issue a final opinion. Online access to judicial decisions could make this practice more efficient and effective than rehearings.
J. Thomas Sullivan,
Redefining Rehearing: Previewing Appellate Decisions Online,
2 J. App. Prac. & Process 435
Available at: http://lawrepository.ualr.edu/appellatepracticeprocess/vol2/iss2/14