Category Archives: Unpublished Opinions

Apr 13
9:33 AM

Unpublished Decisions “Safe for Human Consumption”

Use Google News to retrieve articles on the Supreme Court’s vote to allow citation to "UNPUBLISHED OPINIONS" in Federal courts … Or visit for Tony Mauro’s article: "Supreme Court Votes to Allow Citation to Unpublished Opinions in Federal Courts," Legal Times (April 13, 2006) –

"The Supreme Court on Wednesday adopted a rule change that will allow lawyers to cite unpublished opinions in federal courts starting next year…. 9th Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski, the leading opponent of the rule change, said unpublished opinions were so designated for a reason: They are drafted "entirely" by law clerks and staff attorneys. He added, "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."

Contrast the new Federal courts rule with the California courts traditional limitations upon use of unpublished opinions —

Unpublished opinions of the California Courts of Appeal are posted here for 60 days solely as public information about actions taken by the Courts of Appeal.  Caution: Rule 977 (a), California Rules of Court, prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on any unpublished opinion in any action or proceeding, except in limited circumstances specified by rule 977 (b). Availability of unpublished opinions on this Web site does not constitute publication under California Rules of Court, rules 976, 976.1, 977, or 978….  [California Courts Unpublished Opinions].