A few weeks, I wrote a post about President Biden’s nomination of Judge J. Michelle Childs to serve on the D.C. Circuit. In that spirit, this week — given that the Court only issued a single decision* — I’ve decided that the time is right to check in on one of the Court’s newest judges: Judge Justin Walker. (Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, of course, is even newer, but she was appointed over the summer and only started hearing cases this fall. So this post will focus on Judge Walker.)
I asked my research librarian to collect Judge Walker’s opinions. Here is that list:
- CNN v. FBI, 984 F.3d 114 (D.C. Cir. 2021)
- Sundel v. United States, 985 F.3d 1029 (D.C. Cir. 2021)
- United States v. Greer, 987 F.3d 1089 (D.C. Cir. 2021)
- Kapur v. FCC, 991 F.3d 193 (D.C. Cir. 2021)
- RadNet Management, Inc. v. NLRB, 992 F.3d 114 (D.C. Cir. 2021)
- Swinomish Indian Tribal Community v. Becerra, 993 F.3d 917 (D.C. Cir. 2021)
- Farrar v. Nelson, 2 F.4th 986 (D.C. Cir. 2021)
- In Re: Domestic Airline Travel Antitrust Litigation, 3 F.4th 457 (D.C. Cir. 2021)
- Wang v. Blinken, 3 F.4th 479 (D.C. Cir. 2021)
- National Council for Adoption v. Blinken, 4 F.4th 106 (D.C. Cir. 2021)
- Miriyeva v. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, 9 F.4th 935 (D.C. Cir. 2021)
- Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Inc. v. Dotomain, 10 F.4th 892 (D.C. Cir. 2021)
- Truck Trailer Manufacturers Assoc., Inc. v. EPA, 17 F.4th 1198 (D.C. Cir. 2021)
- Cigar Assoc. of America v. FDA, 5 F.4th 68 (D.C. Cir. 2021) (Walker, J., concurring)
Concurring in part/Dissenting in part
- American Lung Association v. EPA, 985 F.3d 914 (D.C. Cir. 2021) (Walker, J., concurring in part, concurring in the judgment in part, and dissenting in part)
- New Jersey v. EPA, 989 F.3d 1038 (D.C. Cir. 2021) (Walker, J., dissenting)
- United States v. Arrington, 4 F.4th 162 (D.C. Cir. 2021) (Walker, J., dissenting)
Reading Judge Walker’s body of work, I had four quick thoughts. First, not unlike then-Judge Kavanaugh (for whom Walker clerked), many of Walker’s opinions are short and easy to read. Second, his opinions begin by providing helpful roadmaps for readers. Third, Walker doesn’t appear to mind writing separately; I suspect he will do so a great deal (again, as with Kavanaugh). And fourth, somehow Walker has thus far avoided FERC opinions. I think it is safe that his turn is coming!
In short, my sense is that Judge Walker is doing well — which is a good thing, because we likely will be reading his opinions for many more years to come.
* In Li v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, Judge Sentelle — joined by Judges Henderson and Millett — concluded that the case should be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Mandy Mobley Li raised concerns about possible tax evasion by a third party and sought a monetary award. The IRS concluded at the threshold of the process that her concerns were too speculative. Li challenged that decision in the Tax Court, which rejected her argument on the merits. The D.C. Circuit, however, concluded that the Tax Court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction: “A threshold rejection of a Form 211 by nature means the IRS is not proceeding with an action against the target taxpayer. … Therefore, there is no award determination, negative or otherwise, and no jurisdiction for the Tax Court.” Note also this footnote: “The Court appointed Mr. Robert Manhas to assist in addressing the Court’s jurisdiction to hear this appeal. The Court extends its appreciation to Mr. Manhas for his excellent amicus brief on the topic.”
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