Wednesday, January 21, 2015

"Appeals Court Slapped Over Lengthy 'Unpublished' Ruling"


The NLJ presents "Appeals Court Slapped Over Lengthy 'Unpublished' Ruling", which explains:
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas on Tuesday sharply criticized a federal appeals court for issuing a lengthy opinion that was nonetheless unpublished, which he called a "disturbing aspect" of the case before the high court.
The comment could revive a decades-old debate over so-called "unpublished opinions" of appeals courts, which are sometimes cursory and don't have precedential value. According to the most recent statistics available, 88 percent of the 37,820 opinions issued by federal appeals courts in 2013 were categorized as "unpublished"—a misnomer because most are actually available through the court that issued them or through online data services. ...
Controversy over unpublished opinions divided the federal judiciary a decade ago, with judges—including the Ninth Circuit's Alex Kozinski—arguing that ending them would vastly increase the workload of judges by requiring them to put more research into even the most cursory rulings.
But the late Judge Richard Arnold of the Eighth Circuit and others argued that issuing decisions without precedential value was unconstitutional.
In 2005 the Supreme Court issued a rule that did not end the practice, but said lawyers could cite unpublished opinions. That did not stem the flow of unpublished opinions in most courts. 
Also in the NLJ see State of the Union Address: Supreme Court Highlights
Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. attended the address with justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, one more than last year but still below the average number of previous decades. 
Court scholars Todd Peppers and Michael Giles, in a 2011 paper on justices and the State of the Union address, said only 31 percent of justices have attended since 2000, down from 84 percent from 1965 to 1980.