Notice & Comment

D.C. Circuit Review – Reviewed: A Field Study

My posts are designed to help you keep track of the D.C. Circuit — with particular focus on administrative law — in five minutes a week. To that end, for nearly five years I’ve provided a summary of the week’s cases.* But this week I’ve really gone above and beyond the call of duty. I’ve decided to personally inspect the operations of one of the nation’s largest, most important agencies: the Department of the Interior.

In particular, I’ve spent the day on a field study at Grand Teton National Park. My conclusion? Bravo!

Enjoy the weekend.

*The D.C. Circuit decided five cases this week:

Stoe v. Barr: Judge Edwards (joined by Judges Tatel and Pillard) concluded that a discrimination claim by a Department of Justice employee should go to trial because a reasonable jury could find DOJ’s explanation to be pretextual. 

Johnson v. Wilson: Judge Katsas (joined by Judges Millett and Sentelle) rejected a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. Lots of non-“admin law” facts and analysis in this case.

Sanchez v. Office of the State Superintendent of Education: Judge Garland (joined by Judges Henderson and Pillard) covered a lot of justiciability doctrine. Here is the gist. The D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education issued regulations requiring childcare staff to obtain certain levels of formal education. The agency, however, may grant waivers. The court concluded that the plaintiffs here could challenge this scheme and along the way addressed ripeness, mootness, and standing. (Note: Judge Garland did all of that in a tight nine pages.)

Shands Jacksonville Medical v. Azar: Judge Rogers (joined by Judges Garland and Katsas) addressed Medicare reimbursement and Allied-Signal, Inc. v. U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The main takeaway? Inadequately supported rules do not necessarily need to be vacated. 

Code v. McCarthy: Judge Pillard (joined by Judges Tatel and Wilkins) addressed whether the Army erred by not correcting military records. Because this case was handled by a friend from Kirkland & Ellis (where I’m of counsel), I’ll just quote the Court’s holding: “Because a basic mistake of fact renders the Board’s decision arbitrary and capricious, we reverse.”

D.C. Circuit Review – Reviewed is designed to help you keep track of the nation’s “second most important court” in just five minutes a week.

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