Judicial Conference Endorses Citing Unpublished Decisions
The policy-making body of the federal judiciary [the Judicial Conference] on Tuesday [9-20-05] endorsed a sweeping rule change that will allow lawyers to cite unpublished opinions in federal appeals courts nationwide beginning in 2007. . . The citation rule change, if ratified by the Supreme Court and untouched by Congress, would end a practice that brought charges of a hidden, unaccountable system of justice against some of the nation's largest and most important appellate courts. The 2nd, 7th, 9th and federal circuits ban citation of unpublished opinions outright, while six other circuits discourage it. . . She said passage was eased by an amendment introduced at the meeting that would make the change prospective only, meaning that lawyers will be able to cite only those unpublished opinions issued after Jan. 1, 2007. King also stressed that individual circuit courts will be able to set their own rules about the precedential value unpublished opinions can be given.