A number of commenters have asked what the significance of this move is. I cautioned against reading much into it. Shipwrecked crew offers an explanation that makes sense in light of what has been going on. What I mean is this. The failure of the DC Circuit to take up the matter of an en banc rehearing on its own initiative (sua sponte) certainly appears to be an indication of a lack of interest. Why, then, this "direction" and "invitation" for responses? Per shipwreckedcrew:
I believe this action only took the request of a single judge to trigger the requirement of getting a response. It builds in at least 2 more weeks of delay.
In other words, if, say, Wilkins--the dissenter on the three judge panel--requested responses, despite the lack of interest from the rest of the Circuit, then the responses have to be filed. And there's a two week delay. At least. But that tells us nothing about the attitude of the Circuit as a whole. We can speculate all we want, but in the final analysis all we can do is wait.