Today in Bates v. United States, __ Fed. App’x __ (CAFC App. No. 2016‑1831)(Fed. Cir. July 13, 2017)(per curiam)(Lourie, Moore, O’Malley, JJ.)(nonprecedential), the Court – in an opinion with neither precedential worth nor consideration – affirmed the lower court’s dismissal for want of jurisdiction (as opposed to either a Rule 36 affirmance without opinion or a more concise nonprecedential opinion).

Pro Se Appellant:  Given that the appellant appeared pro se, it is understandable why this case was worthy of an opinion necessary for the holding.  What is less understandable, however, is preciselywhy the Court expended its valuable time on writing an opinion where the majority of the opinion is unnecessary for the public (as shown from the yellow highlighted portions of the attached copy of the opinion).

Brevity as the Hallmark for a Nonprecedential Opinion:  Writing an opinion with more than half the content unnecessary to understand the holding is an invitation to lead the public to read and at least subconsciously rely upon a nonprecedential ruling.  Unnecessary verbiage also invites otherwise unnecessary scrutiny of the opinion, as perhaps most dramatically exemplified by the unnecessary verbiage in Teleflex, Inc. v. KSR Intern. Co. 119 Fed. App’x 282 (Fed. Cir. 2005)(Schall, J.)(nonprecedential), rev’d sub nom  KSR International Co. v. Teleflex Inc., 550 U.S. 398 (2007).




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