The DC Circuit doesn't work during the summer, and didn't get out its first opinions until October. This workload is costing the court a seat, which Congress is giving to the Ninth Circuit. But the Court has had a busy December. It has issued 19 opinions. Only three of these were criminal and two discrimination-related. In other words, the DC Circuit issued as many opinions on FERC cases (also three) as it did on routine criminal appeals, or I could draw the same analogy between the FCC and discrimination appeals. You can see why people call it an administrative court.
So how did the government do? Well, DEA lost a license denial appeal to a pharmacy, EPA lost a Clean Air Act rulemaking appeal to Environmental Defense, the FCC lost a phone card reimbursement rulemaking appeal to Qwest, the FAA lost an equipment standards appeal to an equipment maker, DOD lost a facility services appeal to a class of hospitalized veterans, HHS lost a dialysis reimbursement guidance dispute, the CIA lost a FOIA case, and the National Marine Fisheries Service lost a groundfishing rule to an industry group. FERC and the FCC shockingly went undefeated.
The short of it is that the government lost a majority of the administrative law cases appealed to the DC Circuit and decided this month, and lost every rulemaking (which are thought to be the most important cases) so litigated. So perhaps that helps to explain why it still pays to keep people on retainer in this legal market (though yes, yes, selection bias, inadequate sample, &c).
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