<< First Do No Harm? | Main | A Simple Suggestion on the Death Penalty >>

Deadlines and Jurisdiction

When is a filing deadline jurisdictional, and when is it a "mandatory claim-processing rule"?  The U.S. Supreme Court addressed that issue today in Hamer v. Neighborhood Housing Service of Chicago, No. 16-658.  This is a civil case, but criminal lawyers who handled federal habeas corpus petitions need to pay attention.  Federal habeas corpus cases are "civil" for this purpose.

The difference between the two types of deadlines arises mainly when the other party does not object.  An objection based on a "claim-processing rule" can be forfeited by failure to object, but a jurisdictional defect means that everything that happens in the case is void, objection or not.
The rule of decision our precedent shapes is both clear and easy to apply: If a time prescription governing the transfer of adjudicatory authority from one Article III court to another appears in a statute, the limitation is jurisdictional, supra, at 2; otherwise, the time specification fits within the claim-processing category, ibid.
"Transfer of adjudicatory authority" usually means an appeal from a lower court to a higher court, although this language is broad enough to cover "laterals."  For deadlines in a single court's processing of a case, a limit is jurisdictional only if Congress plainly says so.  See footnote 9 on page 8.

Leave a comment

Monthly Archives