The Judicial Sieve: A Critical Analysis of Adequate Briefing Standards in the Federal Circuit Courts of Appeals

Comment by Christopher F. Edmunds

This Comment is the first in-depth inquiry into “adequate briefing standards” in the federal circuit courts. These are judicially-created prudential rules that strictly interpret Rule 28 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure to require that appellants brief an issue “with sufficient precision” on appeal in order to avoid forfeiting, or “waiving,” the issue. These briefing standards may confound practitioners, as what constitutes “adequate” or “sufficient” briefing varies from circuit to circuit, and even from panel to panel. Courts cite the adversarial nature of our legal system as a justification, but these procedural snares are often employed with nearly equal force against pro se litigants and criminal defendants, for whom the playing field is anything but even.

About the Author

J.D. candidate 2017, Tulane University Law School; B.A. 2007, Columbia College Chicago. Incoming law clerk to Honorable Abdul K. Kallon


91 Tul. L. Rev. 561 (2017)