The U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals handles over 60,000 cases on its docket every year. Most of them , however, are disposed without oral arguments and without publication of opinions. In their new book, Injustice on Appeal: The U.S. Courts of Appeals in Crisis, UM Carey Law Professor William Reynolds joins University of Toledo College of Law Professor William M. Richman in examining the current state of the Court.
The book chronicles the transformation of the United States Circuit Courts; considers the merits and dangers of continued truncating procedures; catalogues and responds to the array of specious arguments against increasing the size of the judiciary; and considers several ways of reorganizing the circuit courts so that they can dispense traditional high quality appellate justice even as their caseloads and the number of appellate judgeships increase.
"The Courts have been asking for judges in a formal way," says Reynolds. "But they have not gotten to sit down at the table with Congress and say 'we need many, many more judges'."
The distribution of what Reynolds and Richman call “the full Learned Hand treatment, in recognition of the famed appeals court judge ” – or the process that includes a judicial review and published opinion -- as opposed to the minimal treatment “is not equal across class [or] across race,” says Richman.
"It's really all about what has happened in the Court over the past 30 years, where the structure and the operation of those courts is not what it once was," says Shale Stiller, UM Carey Law adjunct professor and partner at DLA Piper US.