In the past, I’ve been given some grief for covering unpublished opinions on the blog. The Federal Circuit has even threatened sanctions against any attorney who cites those opinions in a court filing. Now however, the Supreme Court has voted to require courts to allow citation of unpublished (nonprecedential) appellate opinions.
Chief Justice John Roberts has been quoted as strongly against these hidden opinions— “A lawyer ought to be able to tell a court what it has done.”
According to a Law.com article by Tony Mauro, 9th Circuit Judge Alex Kozenski has been firmly against allowing citation of unpublished opinions:
When the people making the sausage tell you it’s not safe for human consumption, it seems strange indeed to have a committee in Washington tell people to go ahead and eat it anyway.
The rule will not be effective until January 1, 2007.