United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit hears appeals from decisions issued by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the United States Tax Court and many Federal agencies. A high percentage of the Court’s cases involve the U.S. Federal government in some way.

Legal Materials

The Court web site (www.cadc.uscourts.gov) provides contact information, court fees,forms, etc. The telephone number for the Clerk’s Office is 202-216-7000.

Opinions: Opinions are available free online from Google Scholar (1920s-present), FindLaw (February 1995-present), Justia (1950-present) and, by date only, from the Court web site (September 1997-Current). Opinions are also available back to 1993 on FDsys. For older cases and better searching use Lexis, Westlaw, LOIS, Fastcase and/or VersusLaw.

Court Rules: Court Rules and related materials are posted free on the Court’s Court Rules & Operating Procedures page. For print editions and searchable databases see the separate entry for “Federal Court Rules” and/or “Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure” in this legal Encyclopedia.

Docket Sheets and Case Files: Docket sheets and case files are available through the PACER system; for better searching, use the commercial databases discussed in the separate entry for “Docket Sheets.” In addition, Westlaw has briefs filed since 1976 (CTADC-BRIEF). Lexis has selected briefs and motions filed since 2000 in the Federal Briefs and Motions database (CRTFLS;FDMTBR); add “and Court(Appeals and District of Columbia)” to the end of your search to retrieve only filings from the D.C. Circuit.

Copies of older case files are available at the National Archives/Washington National Records Center. Hire a document retrieval service if you aren’t in the area.

Oral Arguments: Check the oral arguments calendar for upcoming dates. The Court’sCase Files & Records page provides rules and procedures for purchasing recordings and/or transcripts of oral arguments.

Practice Materials: The Court’s Court Rules & Operating Procedures page provides aHandbook of Practice and Internal Procedures and an extensive compilation ofFrequently Asked Questions.

History: The Court was created in 1801 with both Federal and state-level jurisdiction for the District of Columbia. The Court’s state-level jurisdiction was transferred to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals in 1970, but the Circuit Court’s decisions prior to 1971 still have precedential value in state-level D.C. courts.

For a good introduction to the history and nature of the court see, What Makes the D.C. Circuit Different? A Historical View by Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court John G. Roberts, Jr., 92(3) Virginia Law Review 375 (2006). For more information, see Calmly to Poise the Scales of Justice: A History of the Courts of the District of Columbia Circuit(Historical Society of the D.C. Circuit, 2001) by Jeffrey Brandon Morris, History of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in the Country’s Bicentennial Year (U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, 1977) and/or the oral histories from the Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit.

Background: The District of Columbia Courts

Acting under its power (Article I, Section 8, Clause 17) to “exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District … as may … become the Seat of the Government of the United States,” Congress has set up a judicial system for the nation’s capital. Both the District Court and the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia hear many local cases as well as those they try as constitutional courts. Congress has also established two local courts, much like the courts in the States: a superior court, which is the general trial court, and a court of appeals.

See Also

Case Pulls
Docket Sheets
Federal Court Rules
Judges
United States Court of Appeals
United States Courts, generally

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. This part provides references, in relation to United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

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