Notes on Amicus Briefs In Support of Rehearing From U.S. Courts Advisory Committee on Civl Rules

March 27th, 2014

Following up on my previous post on how the 7th Circuit, in a cramped reading of FRAP, prohibits amici in support of rehearing en banc.

The upcoming meeting of theĀ U.S. Courts Advisory Committee on Civl Rules has some notes on this topic:

Judge Colloton reported that the advisory committee is also considering the possibility of addressing amicus filings in connection with petitions for panel rehearing and/or rehearing en banc. He stated that the advisory committee had heard that lawyers are frustrated that there is no rule with respect to rehearing that sets out when an amicus brief must be filed or how long it must be. The committee is considering whether there should be a national rule on these topics. Judge Colloton noted that some circuits have no local rule on these matters. However, there is a concern that any rule that addresses amicus briefs on petitions for rehearing might stimulate more such amicus briefs, which some courts do not desire. Judge Colloton noted that some courts even have rules that generally prohibit amicus filings on rehearing, or that only allow them with leave of court. Matters that could be addressed by a proposed rule include length, timing, and other topics that Rule 29 addresses with respect to amicus filings at the merits-briefing stage.

A judge member noted that amicus briefs are usually helpful on rehearing. She stated that sometimes there are sleeper issues that the appellate court may not be aware of and that she favored explicitly clarifying that such amicus briefs are permissible. Judge Colloton noted that the suggestion, if implemented, would not require allowing amicus briefs on rehearing, but instead would set out the procedure to be followed if the circuit allowed such amicus briefs.

H/T Ted Frank