Federal Rules Update

Federal Rules Published for Public Comment

By David A. Schlueter

Under the Rules Enabling Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2071–77, amendments to the Federal Rules of Procedure and Evidence are initially considered by the respective advisory committees, who draft the rules, circulate them for public comment, and forward the rules for approval to the Judicial Conference’s Standing Committee on the Rules. If the rules are approved by the Judicial Conference of the United States, they are forwarded to the Supreme Court of the United States, which reviews the rules, makes any appropriate changes, and in turn forwards them to Congress. If Congress makes no further changes to the rules, they become effective on December 1. That process—from initial drafting by the advisory committee to effective date—typically takes three years. In August 2018, the Standing Committee approved the publication of proposed amendments to Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure 35 and 40 and to Federal Rule of Evidence 404. The public comment period for those proposals closes on February 15, 2019. The text of the proposed amendments is available at http://www.uscourts.gov/rules-policies/proposed-amendments-published-public-comment. Members of the public also may submit their comments on those proposed amendments at the same link.

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