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Tuesday, November 19, 2002

One Step Closer To A Uniform Federal Rule On Citation Of Unpublished Opinions

The Judicial Conference's Advisory Committee on Appellate Rules met in San Francisco yesterday to consider an amendment to the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure initially proposed by the Department of Justice. The amendment is intended to provide a uniform rule governing citation of unpublished opinions, and was discussed in this U.S. Courts press release, and described to Congress by Committee Chair Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr., last June. As mentioned previously here and on Howard Bashman's blog, there is a good deal of debate about whether, when and how parties and courts may refer to and consider unpublished judicial decisions in the process of deciding subsequent cases. (See my entries here and here, and Howard's here.) Concerning yesterday's proceedings, San Francisco legal newspaper The Recorder reports that while the wording is not final and the amendment still is some two years away from implementation, the Committee has approved the proposed amendment in principle. According to the Recorder, the sole dissenting vote was Sandy Svetcov of Milberg Weiss; Reed Smith's Tom McGough also serves on the Committee. (The full committee roster commences at page 4 of this PDF.)

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