Reign of Error: District Courts Misreading the Supreme Court over Rooker–Feldman Analysis
17 Legal Comm. & Rhetoric: JALWD (2020 Forthcoming)
13 Pages Posted: 30 May 2020
Date Written: May 22, 2020
Seventeen decisions in nine U.S. district courts from 2006 through 2019 have taken a demonstrably misgrounded starting point for Rooker–Feldman analysis. The cases have read language from a 2006 Supreme Court opinion, in which the Court quoted criteria stated by the lower court, as their guideline. But the Court summarily vacated the lower court’s judgment, and it had previously articulated, and has repeated, different criteria for federal courts to follow. The district-court decisions all appear to have reached correct results, but the mistake about criteria should be recognized and avoided as soon as possible before it creates potential mischief. And more generally, the recurring mistake highlights the importance of attention to detail in the drafting and reading of judicial opinions.
Keywords: courts, Rooker-Feldman, judicial error, legal writing
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