When the Fourth Circuit released its opinions in Virginia v. Sebelius and Liberty University v. Geithner on September 8, the opinions were in manuscript form (i.e., double-spaced, Courier). Today, the Fourth Circuit has released the opinions in the normal format for published opinions in the Fourth Circuit (here for Virginia v. Sebelius and here for Liberty University v. Geithner). Why the lag? Because it takes time to format these opinions, and the public is better off having them in manuscript form rather than waiting for all the formatting. That formatting took an extra-long time in these cases given the number of amici curiae. To get a sense of how different these cases were, a typical Fourth Circuit opinion will begin near the bottom of the first page or the top of the second page (depending on how much room the caption and other descriptive information takes up). By contrast, the text of Judge Motz’s opinion for the panel in Virginia v. Sebelius does not begin until page 41.
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Fourth Circuit mandate-challenge opinions now available in published opinion format (rather than manuscript form)
September 15, 2011 by Kevin C. Walsh