Hall v. Hall: A Lose-Lose Case for Appellate Jurisdiction
68 Emory Law Journal Online 1001 (2018)
13 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2018 Last revised: 7 Oct 2019
Date Written: March 12, 2018
In Hall v. Hall, the Supreme Court decided when parties in consolidated actions can appeal. But the Court had no great options in deciding the case. The Court ultimately adopted a straightforward rule — consistent with prior understandings of consolidation and what it means for a decision to be “final” — but it’s one that might produce pragmatically unsound results. The Court’s other option was a more flexible — and practical — approach, but taking that route would have injected further uncertainty and complexity into this area of the law. This problem is not unique to Hall. It exists when courts decide many issues of federal appellate jurisdiction. But Hall also illustrates the alternative way forward: although it’s too late for Hall itself, the issue in Hall is an ideal one for rulemaking. More generally, rulemaking can avoid many of the problems federal courts run into when making rules of appellate jurisdiction.
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