SCOTUS Updates Rules of Practice

The United States Supreme Court has updated its rules of practice, effective July 1, 2013 [.pdf]. The changes are relatively minor, such that the Court did not make them available for comment before adopting them. The changes include:

  • Rule 12.6: Providing that a party aligned with and supporting the grant of a petition has 30 days to file a supporting brief. The party must still notify the court of its intent to file within 20 days, and cannot get an enlargement of time to file.
  • Rules 15 & 18: Increasing the number of days the Clerk waits to distribute petitions to the Justices, which gives Petitioners more time to get a reply brief served and included in the distribution packet.
  • Rule 29.3: requiring electronic transmission of Petitions to other parties in most instances.
  • Rules 37.2(a) and 3(a): Clarifying that only one signatory to an amicus brief need get consent, eliminating the need for additional signatories to file consents.
  • Rule 39: Allowing attorneys who are appointed by a state court to appear without filing an affidavit of indigency.
  • Rule 28.8: Requiring everyone to argue before the Court to be an attorney.

This article explains the interesting backstory of the Court’s new Rule 28.8, including the fascinating story of the last non-lawyer to argue (and win!) before the Supreme Court.

Proposed Changes to Rules Governing Comments on Federal Nominees

The Eleventh Circuit earlier this week announced its intent to modify rules and regulations governing the selection and review of nominees for various judicial offices [.pdf]. The revised rules would allow commenters on the qualifications of nominees to request confidentiality. However, if the selection committee determines the commenter’s name should be revealed so that the applicant can respond fully, the commenter will be given the option to withdraw the comment before the commenter’s identity is revealed. This basic change would be made to three addenda to the Rules and Regulations of the Judicial Council of the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and would apply to nominees for appointment or reappointment as Bankruptcy Judge (Addendum 6 [.pdf]), Federal Public Defenders (Addendum 7 [.pdf]), and Bankruptcy Administrators (Addendum 9 [.pdf]). Comments to these proposed rule changes are due by August 31, 2012.

Get Your Revised Eleventh Circuit Rules Here — Bonus Tip for iPad Users!

The Eleventh Circuit published a new, complete .pdf of its rules effective August 1, 2012. The changes to the Court’s local rules and IOPs are minor, but at least one of them is very interesting: the court has changed the rule to allow folks to purchase CDs of oral argument. The Court also amended the rules to eliminate references to specific dollar amounts for fees, so that it no longer need amend the local rules whenever there is a statutory fee change.

The Eleventh Circuit has always kindly provided a guide for replacing the pages where there are changes in your current copy of the rules, so that practitioners can retain their annotations and only pull out the pages where there are actual changes. If, like me, you’ve switched to using an iPad for most of your research needs, Adobe Acrobat X makes it very simple to do the electronic equivalent of changing out the necessary pages of your notebook. Save the new rules to your computer at an easy to find location, then open your old copy and under TOOLS select “REPLACE”. Adobe will prompt you to select the new file from which you want to take the replacement pages:

Screen Capture of Replace Pages Dialog

In this case, the .pdf page numbers and the listed page numbers align perfectly, so it is very simple to follow the directions on page 2 of the Court’s .pdf and replace, section by section, the necessary pages. And voila! My copy of the rules is up to date, and I didn’t have to give up all of my annotations.