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59 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 1008 (1990-1991)
Court En Banc: 1981-1990

handle is hein.journals/gwlr59 and id is 1018 raw text is: The Court En Banc: 1981-1990
Douglas H. Ginsburg*
Donald Falk**
About a half-dozen times each year the United States Court of
Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit hears a case en banc.
The great majority of the en banc cases are heard first by a panel
and then reheard by the full court, sometimes before but usually
after the panel has issued its decision; rarely does the court hear a
case en banc from the outset. Cases heard or reheard en banc ac-
count for about one percent of the court's total dispositions after
argument.' Among the federal courts of appeals, the D.C. Circuit
has been unusually consistent in disposing of the same percentage
of cases en banc for about twenty-five years.2
Despite the relative infrequency with which the courts of appeals
* Douglas H. Ginsburg is a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the
District of Columbia Circuit. When the first person singular is used in this Article, the
voice is that ofJudge Ginsburg. The authors are grateful to Richard Nagareda and Rod
Rosenstein, Judge Ginsburg's former law clerks, who did the initial research for this
Because we rely in part upon statistics published by the Administrative Office of the
United States Courts (AO), we follow the AO in using fiscal year (FY) data throughout.
A FY runs from July 1 of the preceding year through June 30 of the nominal year.
Hence the period referenced in the title of this Article is July 1, 1980, to June 30, 1990.
Bracketed numbers, such as [41], refer to the cases in the Appendix, which lists and
briefly describes each en banc disposition of the D.C. Circuit since July 1, 1980.
** Donald Falk, a member of the California Bar, served as a law clerk to Judge
Ginsburg in 1990-91.
1. See infra Table 5, at 1045, col. 4.
2. Although the en banc caseload varies from year to year, the percentage has been
quite constant when calculated over multi-year periods to correct for annual fluctua-
tions. See infra Table 7, at 1050. The only significant variation came during FYs 1974-
1976, when the court heard several en banc cases related to the Watergate scandal. See
infra note 91 and accompanying text.
June 1991 Vol. 59 No. 5


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