"Supreme Court Votes to Allow Citation to Unpublished Opinions"

What a change!

"The Supreme Court on Wednesday adopted a historic rule change that will allow lawyers to cite so-called unpublished opinions in federal courts starting next year. The new rule takes effect unless Congress countermands it before Dec. 1.

"The justices' vote represents a major milestone in the long-running debate over unpublished opinions, the sometimes-cursory dispositions that resolve upward of 80 percent of cases in federal appeals courts nationwide. In some circuits these dispositions have no precedential value and cannot be cited.

"'Unpublished' is a misnomer, since most of these opinions are available now on legal databases. But some federal judges have argued that if this category of opinions can be cited and used as precedent, they will take more time to decide and write, sharply increasing the backlog of cases. Many sentencing appeals, for example, are resolved by unpublished opinions. The U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 2nd, 7th, 9th, and federal circuits ban the citation of unpublished opinions outright, while six other circuits discourage it."

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