Thursday, April 13, 2006

Proposed Change for Unpublished Opinions

The Supreme Court has approved new Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 32.1, which will take effect in December, 2006, unless Congress disapproves. Under the new rule, parties may cite unpublished opinions and orders of any federal court. This new rule will apply only to orders and opinions that have been issued after January 1, 2007. The Committee Note advises that the rule does not require a court to issue unpublished opinions, which could leave open the unattractive possibility of dispositions that contain nothing more than the word "AFFIRMED." (Other Circuits have employed this practice in the past.) The Committee Note also advises that each Court can decide what precedential weight to give unpublished opionions. For the answer to that question, we must await a local Circuit Rule.