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Supreme Court hears oral arguments on jurisdictional nature of statute of limitation rule

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [Official website] heard oral arguments [transcript, PDF] Tuesday in Hamer v. Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago [SCOTUSblog materials].

The case revolves around whether Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(5)(C) [text] is a jurisdictional rule or a non-jurisdictional rule. The rule states that a motion to extend the time to file a notice of appeal cannot be granted to extend the time in excess of 30 days after the prescribed deadline, or 14 days after the date of the motion.

The questioning from the Supreme Court Justices was heavily dominated by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Samuel Alito. Ginsburg's comments generally appeared in support of the attorney representing Hamer who was arguing that the rule was non-jurisdictional. However, Alito's line of questioning often challenged Hamer's attorney.

A significant portion of the arguments on both sides covered the 1991 changes to 28 U.S.C. § 2107(c) which removed language from the statute which included the 30 day limit on extensions given in Rule Rule 4(a)(5)(C). Hamer's attorney argued that the removal was part of many significant changes in the 1991 amendment which showed intent from Congress to remove the jurisdictionality of the 30 day limit on extensions. Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago's attorney argued that the silence in the congressional record on the remove of the limit showed that the removal from the statute was accidental and Congress intended the requirement to still be jurisdictional.

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