D.C. Circuit: The Second Most Important Court in America


By: Sun Choy

With the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is in the spotlight once again. If confirmed, Judge Jackson will join Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Brett Kavanaugh as former D.C. Circuit judges. So more current Supreme Court justices have come from the D.C. Circuit than any other circuit court. This is one popular reason why many consider the D.C. Circuit the second most important court. More importantly, D.C. Circuit’s unique jurisdiction results in cases that directly impact the entire nation. As the highest court of the District of Columbia, the court has jurisdiction to review case decisions of administrative agencies, boards, and commissions of the District of Columbia as well as answer questions of law certified by federal and state appellate courts. Accordingly, the D.C. Circuit is tasked with deciding critical issues such as consumer protections and labor rights, environmental and health regulations, national security issues and balance of power between the branches of government. Because the D.C. Circuit is the second most important court, it should not be surprising to see more Supreme Court nominees from the court.