Today’s luncheon presentation began with a presentation to the out-going Chief Judge of U.S. Court of Appeals, James B. Loken, honoring his tenure.
Judge Riley began his presentation with signature modesty suggesting that his early effort as Chief Judge was “just trying to get through each day and not mess up.” He moved quickly on to some more serious comments — urging lawyers to take heed of the word “BRIEF” as in “legal brief” but also as in brevity.
The Ten Commandments, Judge Riley, pointed out, are comprised of 179 words. Government regulations on cabbage, he said, are 26,000 words. (This statement is contested. On the other hand, the central point is not lost.)
Judge Riley said that one of his goals as Chief Judge would be to speed up the docket. Another was to impose further detail on CJA applications for payment in excess of the imposed cap on fees. If CJA-appointed lawyers want to be given more fees than the capped amount, they might be required to substantiate the claimed excess more in days to come.
Judge Riley then went through statistics provided to him by Court of Appeals Clerk, Michael Gans, painting a picture of a huge volume of decisions to be made by the U.S. Court of Appeals in comparison, say, to the U.S. Supreme Court (instead of 9 judges with 75-80 opinions per year (U.S. Supreme Court), the 8th Circuit has 11 judges to get through 600 opinions per year.)
Finally, Judge Riley promoted the 8th Circuit Conference in August in Minneapolis at the Marriott Hotel. Justice Alito will be among the guests, with a panel hosted by Judge Morris Arnold, on which will be Judges Loken, Colloton, from the Eighth Circuit, and Judge Schiltz from the District of Minnesota. The subject: the U.S. Supreme Court, and clerking on the Court.