CCL opposed proposed amendments to the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure that would reduce the length of appellate briefs by 1,500 words in comments filed February 11.  The proposal would change the conversion rate from 280 words per page to 250. Contrary to assertions made by proponents, lowering the limit will not result in better briefing. The more likely consequence would be an increase in motions to exceed the limit, resulting in more work for both counsel and the courts. CCL also pointed out that the lower word limit would disproportionately impact amicus curiae briefs, which must include a statement of interest and other elements that go against the word count.

CCL’s comments supported proposals to covert page limits into word limits and to add provision for amicus briefs during an appellate court’s consideration of petitions for rehearing or rehearing en banc. CCL suggested that the proposed deadline for such briefs should be extended from 3 days to one week after the party has filed the petition for rehearing. In addition, CCL argued that the proposed limit of 2,000 words is unrealistic. CCL also suggested that the amendment to Rule 29 be broadened to make provision for amicus briefs at a subsequent consideration of the merits.

Finally, CCL did not oppose amending Rule 4(a)(4)(a) to clarify that post-judgment motions made outside of the time limits of the Civil Rules are not “timely,” and thus cannot toll the time for filing a civil appeal.

CCL’s comments were prepared by Senior Litigation Counsel Jeffrey R. White.