Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy, Vol. 23, No. 1, 2013
Eric M. Fraser, David K. Kessler, Matthew J.B. Lawrence, and Stephen Calhoun


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Abstract: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is unique among federal courts. It is well known for its unusual caseload, which is disproportionally weighted toward administrative law. What explains the unusual caseload? This Article explores the inputs into the D.C. Circuit’s caseload. We identify several “push” factors that push some types of cases away from the Circuit, and several “pull” factors that pull certain cases in. We give particular focus to the jurisdictional provisions of federal statutes, which reveal Congressional intent about the sorts of actions over which the D.C. Circuit should have special jurisdiction. Through a comprehensive examination of the U.S. Code, we identify several trends: The Congress is more likely to give the D.C. Circuit exclusive jurisdiction over reviews of administrative rulemakings than agency fines, over reviews of actions of independent agencies than executive agencies, and over certain subject matters that are likely to have national effect. In sum, we explore what makes this court unique, from its history to its modern docket and jurisdiction.

judicial opinions matthew j. b. lawrence