Freer addresses Federal Appellate Procedure Advisory Committee
Richard D. Freer, the Robert Howell Hall Professor of Law at Emory Law, addressed the Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure Oct. 13, on the disconnect he sees between rulemaking bodies for the federal courts and the bench and bar.
The Advisory Committee on the Appellate Rules consists of 10 members appointed by the chief justice of the United States. Members include federal judges, state Supreme Court justices, leading national practitioners and academics, who serve three-year terms. The chairperson is The Hon. Jeffrey S. Sutton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. The committee advises the Judicial Conference of the United States concerning amendments and improvements to the appellate rules.
The Advisory Committees, particularly on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, have promulgated too many rules amendments in the past two decades to allow meaningful engagement by lawyers and judges, Freer says. The resulting disengagement robs the process of the robust participation required for effective rulemaking. Freer criticized recent years’ rulemaking aimed at restyling the language of the rules without changing their operation.
“Every amendment imposes costs,” Freer said. “The costs should be imposed only when necessary to solve a problem, to make things better for those who must use the rules.”
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