Supreme Court Reversal Rates For Federal Circuit Cases

Vol. 6 No. 4

By

Roy E. Hofer practices at the Law Offices of Roy E. Hofer in Chicago, Illinois. Joshua H. James, a third-year student at Indiana University Maurer School of Law, contributed to this article.

The January/February 2010 issue of Landslide® magazine published the article, “Supreme Court Reversal Rates: Evaluating the Federal Courts of Appeals.”1 In that article, the ratio of cases reversed (or vacated) over the cases reviewed by the Supreme Court for each federal court of appeals was calculated in order to compare the “performance” of each court for October Terms 1999–2008. These calculations showed that the Federal Circuit had the highest reversal rate (83.3 percent) of any of the federal courts of appeals. Based on a typical law school grading curve, the Federal Circuit received a “D” grade and would have received an even worse grade for its patent-related cases, which had a reversal rate of about 92.3 percent.

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