The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is unique among federal courts, well known for an unusual caseload that is disproportionally weighted toward administrative law. What explains that unusual caseload? This Article explores that question. We identify several factors that “push” some types of cases away from the Circuit and several factors that “pull” other cases to it. We give particular focus to the jurisdictional provisions of federal statutes, which reveal congressional intent about the types 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. First, the Congress is more likely to give the D.C. Circuit exclusive jurisdiction over the review of administrative rulemaking than over the review of agency decisions imposing a penalty. Second, the Congress is more likely to give the D.C. Circuit exclusive jurisdiction over the review of independent agency actions than over the review of executive agency actions. Finally, the Congress tends to grant the D.C. Circuit exclusive jurisdiction over matters that are likely to have a national effect. In sum, we explore what makes this court unique, from its history to its modern docket and jurisdiction.
Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy
Matthew J.B. Lawrence, David K. Kessler, Eric M. Fraser, and Stephen A. Calhoun, The Jurisdiction of the D.C. Circuit, 23 Cornell J.L. & Pub. Pol'y 131 (2013).