Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg referenced Professor Scott Dodson’s amicus brief during oral argument in the case of Hamer v. Neighborhood Housing Serv. of Chicago. The matter was before the Court on appeal from the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit to resolve the question: Does Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(5)(C) deprive a court of appeals of jurisdiction over an appeal that is statutorily timely?
Professor Dodson submitted his amicus brief “in support of neither party to aid the Court’s consideration” because of his “academic and pedagogical interest in the clarification of the boundaries, scope, and regulatability of federal jurisdiction.”
In his brief, Professor Dodson opined that “[r]ather than analyzing [precise issues directly confronting the parties and the Court] through traditional tools of statutory and rule construction, the Court of Appeals instead raised and answered, sua sponte, a wholly different question: whether the Rule’s deadline is jurisdictional.” Therefore, he suggested that the Court of Appeals was wrong in holding that the Rule’s jurisdictional character necessarily resolved the appeal, and the Supreme Court should dispose of the appeal without adopting the Court of Appeals’s reasoning.
During oral argument, Justice Ginsburg specifically referenced Professor Scott Dodson’s brief (listen in starting at 6:00) and briefly discussed its merits with counsel for the Petitioner.
Ultimately, in a unanimous opinion delivered by Justice Ginsburg, the Court determined that a court-made rule imposing a time limit is not jurisdictional, and vacated the decision of the of the Seventh Circuit and remanded for further proceedings.