Supreme Court Reiterates Congress's Exclusive Role in Regulating Lower Federal Court Jurisdiction [November 29, 2017] [open pdf - 303KB]
"The Supreme Court's first signed opinion from the October 2017 term addressed the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure (FRAP), a body of procedural rules created by the Supreme Court (under statutory authorization) that supplements statutory rules governing federal appellate litigation. In 'Hamer v. Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago,' the Court assessed whether FRAP 4(a)(5)(C), which governs the timeliness of an appeal, is jurisdictional in nature or, rather, a mandatory claim-processing rule. When a rule is jurisdictional, a party's failure to comply with it deprives the court of jurisdiction to hear the matter. Conversely, a claim-processing rule is designed to streamline litigation by requiring parties to do certain things at certain times (e.g., a rule laying out the procedures and timeline for filing a notice of appeal) but, if not followed, does not interfere with a court's jurisdiction. In 'Hamer,' the Supreme Court unanimously reversed the Seventh Circuit's holding that FRAP 4(a)(5)(C) is a jurisdictional rule requiring a lawsuit's dismissal if the appellant untimely files a notice of appeal. In doing so the Court sent a clear message that Congress, and only Congress, may create rules governing the jurisdiction of the lower federal courts, and thus, court-made rules -- even if made pursuant to legislative authority -- will never be construed as jurisdictional."
CRS Legal Sidebar, November 29, 2017
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html