Tuesday, June 27, 2017

SCOTUS's Rules

Let's just put it out there: the Rules of the Supreme Court of the United States are not very well written. Sure, local rules can always be somewhat complex and complicated, but the SCOTUS rules are especially obtuse in their structure and phrasing. Even the Court itself gets confused. Case in point: In granting cert yesterday in the big Travel Ban cases, the court's original docket entry said that the briefing schedule would be set by "Rule 33.1." No doubt many interested citizens (ok, maybe just a few appellate nerds -- and possibly some interested travelers from certain targeted nations?) scurried to see what that rule had to say about the timing for this big case. But Rule 33.1 is about the format of briefs, not timing. Confusing! Frustrating! Today, the docket has been corrected to read:
Image result for wake up callThe due dates for the briefs on the merits in 16-1436 and 16-1540 are as provided for by Rule 25 of the Rules of this Court. 
Emphasis added. Citing to Rule 25 makes a lot more sense! But when the Court itself has trouble citing to the correct rule in a super-scrutinized case, perhaps that's a sign that it's time to revisit the rules?

And speaking of the Big Travel Ban Case, in which the President is the petitioner/appellant, remember how last summer a certain Justice became vocal about one of the candidates in the presidential election (e.g., here)? Well, Law360 has an interesting article titled Rep. Demands Ginsburg Recusal In Trump Travel Ban Case