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The Jurisdiction of the D.C. Circuit

25 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2013 Last revised: 28 Nov 2013

Eric M. Fraser

Osborn Maledon, PA

David K. Kessler

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

Matthew J. B. Lawrence

Pennsylvania State University, Dickinson Law; Harvard University - Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics

Stephen Calhoun

Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P.

Date Written: December 3, 2013

Abstract

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is unique among federal courts. It is well known for its unusual caseload, which is disproportionally weighted toward administrative law. What explains the unusual caseload? This Article explores the inputs into the D.C. Circuit’s caseload. We identify several “push” factors that push some types of cases away from the Circuit, and several “pull” factors that pull certain cases in. We give particular focus to the jurisdictional provisions of federal statutes, which reveal Congressional intent about the sorts of actions over which the D.C. Circuit should have special jurisdiction. Through a comprehensive examination of the U.S. Code, we identify several trends: The Congress is more likely to give the D.C. Circuit exclusive jurisdiction over reviews of administrative rulemakings than agency fines, over reviews of actions of independent agencies than executive agencies, and over certain subject matters that are likely to have national effect. In sum, we explore what makes this court unique, from its history to its modern docket and jurisdiction.

Keywords: US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, DC Circuit, Administrative Law, Regulation, US Code

JEL Classification: K10, K23, K30

Suggested Citation

Fraser, Eric M. and Kessler, David K. and Lawrence, Matthew J. B. and Calhoun, Stephen, The Jurisdiction of the D.C. Circuit (December 3, 2013). Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy, Vol. 23, No. 1, p. 131, 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2238049

Eric M. Fraser

Osborn Maledon, PA ( email )

2929 North Central Avenue
Suite 2100
Phoenix, AZ 85012
United States
602-640-9321 (Phone)

David K. Kessler (Contact Author)

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP ( email )

New York, NY 10019
United States

Matthew J. B. Lawrence

Pennsylvania State University, Dickinson Law ( email )

150 South College Street
Carlisle, PA 17013
United States

Harvard University - Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Stephen Calhoun

Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. ( email )

United States

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