Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Hamer v. Neighborhood Housing Servs. of Chicago, Docket 16-658

Jurisdictional rule: Claim-processing rule: Clear-statement rule: Waiver: Forfeiture: Equity: Dismissal:

In Bowles v. Russell, 551 U. S. 205, 210–213 (2007), this Court clarified that an appeal filing deadline prescribed by statute will be regarded as “jurisdictional,” meaning that late filing of the appeal notice necessitates dismissal of the appeal. But a time limit prescribed only in a court-made rule, Bowles acknowledged, is not jurisdictional; it is, instead, a mandatory claim-processing rule subject to forfeiture if not properly raised by the appellee. Ibid.; Kontrick v. Ryan, 540 U. S. 443, 456 (2004). Because the Court of Appeals held jurisdictional a time limit specified in a rule, not in a statute, 835 F. 3d 761, 763 (CA7 2016), we vacate that court’s judgment dismissing the appeal.

A time limit not prescribed by Congress ranks as a mandatory claim-processing rule, serving “to promote the orderly progress of litigation by requiring that the parties take certain procedural steps at certain specified times.” Henderson v. Shinseki, 562 U. S. 428, 435 (2011).

This Court and other forums have sometimes overlooked this distinction, “mischaracterizing claim-processing rules or elements of a cause of action as jurisdictional limitations, particularly when that characterization was not central to the case, and thus did not require close analysis.” Reed Elsevier, Inc. v. Muchnick, 559 U. S. 154, 161 (2010).

But prevailing precedent makes the distinc­tion critical. Failure to comply with a jurisdictional time prescription, we have maintained, deprives a court of adjudicatory authority over the case, necessitating dismis­sal—a “drastic” result. Shinseki, 562 U. S., at 435; Bowles, 551 U. S., at 213 (“When an ‘appeal has not been prosecuted . . . within the time limited by the acts of Con­gress, it must be dismissed for want of jurisdiction.’” (quoting United States v. Curry, 6 How. 106, 113 (1848))). The jurisdictional defect is not subject to waiver or forfei­ture and may be raised at any time in the court of first instance and on direct appeal. Kontrick, 540 U. S., at 455. In contrast to the ordinary operation of our adver­sarial system, courts are obliged to notice jurisdictional issues and raise them on their own initiative. Shinseki, 562 U. S., at 434.

Mandatory claim-processing rules are less stern. If properly invoked, mandatory claim-processing rules must be enforced, but they may be waived or forfeited. Man­rique v. United States, 581 U. S. ___, ___ (2017) (slip op., at 4). “Claim-processing rules . . . ensure relief to a party properly raising them, but do not compel the same result if the party forfeits them.” Eberhart v. United States, 546
U. S. 12, 19 (2005) (per curiam).

We have reserved whether mandatory claim-processing rules may be subject to equitable exceptions. See Kontrick, 540 U. S., at 457.

The terms waiver and forfeiture—though often used interchange­ably by jurists and litigants—are not synonymous. “Forfeiture is the failure to make the timely assertion of a right; waiver is the ‘inten­tional relinquishment or abandonment of a known right.’” United States v. Olano, 507 U. S. 725, 733 (1993) (quoting Johnson v. Zerbst, 304 U. S. 458, 464 (1938)).

(…) If a time prescription governing the transfer of adjudicatory author­ity from one Article III court to another appears in a stat­ute, the limitation is jurisdictional (…) In cases not involving the timebound transfer of adjudicatory authority from one Article III court to another, we have additionally applied a clear-statement rule: “A rule is jurisdictional ‘if the Legisla­ture clearly states that a threshold limitation on a statute’s scope shall count as jurisdictional.’” Gonzalez v. Thaler, 565 U. S. 134, 141 (2012) (quoting Arbaugh v. Y & H Corp., 546 U. S. 500, 515 (2006)). See also, e.g., Henderson v. Shinseki, 562 U. S. 428, 431 (2011) (statutory dead­line for filing notice of appeal with Article I tribunal held not jurisdic­tional). “This is not to say that Congress must incant magic words in order to speak clearly,” however. Sebelius v. Auburn Regional Medical Center, 568 U. S. 145, 153 (2013). In determining whether Congress intended a particular provision to be jurisdictional, “we consider ‘context, including this Court’s interpretations of similar provisions in many years past,’ as probative of Congress’ intent.” Id., at 153–154 (quoting Reed Elsevier, Inc. v. Muchnick, 559 U. S. 154, 168 (2010)). Even so, “in applying the clear statement rule, we have made plain that most statutory time bars are nonjurisdictional.” United States v. Kwai Fun Wong, 575 U. S. ___, ___ (2015) (slip op., at 6).

(…) “Mandatory and jurisdictional” is erroneous and confounding terminology where, as here, the relevant time prescription is absent from the U. S. Code. Because Rule 4(a)(5)(C), not §2107, limits the length of the extension granted here, the time prescription is not jurisdictional. See Youkelsone v. FDIC, 660 F. 3d 473, 475 (CADC 2011) (“Rule 4(a)(5)(C)’s thirty-day limit on the length of any extension ultimately granted appears nowhere in the U. S. Code.”).

(U.S.S.C., Nov. 8, 2017, Hamer v. Neighborhood Housing Servs. of Chicago, Docket 16-658, J. Ginsburg, unanimous).

En procédure fédérale, un délai prescrit par une loi au sens formel (soit promulguée directement par le Congrès), tel un délai de recours, n'est en soi pas susceptible de prolongation. Il est a priori de nature "juridictionnelle". Cela même si la partie adverse ne se prévaut pas de son inobservation. L'autorité devra constater d'office que le délai n'a pas été respecté, et devra prononcer une décision d'irrecevabilité. Et la partie adverse peut se prévaloir de l'absence de compétence de l'autorité en tout temps pendant la procédure, ainsi qu'en appel direct. Par contraste, les délais fixés par un acte autre qu'une loi au sens formel, ou fixés par le Tribunal, sont susceptibles d'être prolongés. L'autorité ne rendra pas de décision d'irrecevabilité si la partie adverse ne se prévaut pas du dépassement du délai.

La Cour a réservé pour une décision ultérieure la résolution de la question de savoir si les délais qui permettent la prolongation sont ou non susceptibles de faire l'objet d'exceptions déduites de l'"equity".

Les notions de "waiver" et de "forfeiture", souvent utilisées à tort de manière interchangeables, ne sont pas synonymes. "Forfeiture" implique le fait de manquer à se prévaloir d'un droit dans les temps. "Waiver" implique l'abandon intentionnel d'un droit.

Pour déterminer si un délai est de nature "juridictionnelle", la règle de l'intention claire du législateur s'applique : pour connaître l'intention du Congrès, le texte de la loi est relevant, mais aussi son contexte, ainsi que l'interprétation donnée par la jurisprudence de la Cour Suprême à des dispositions semblables. La plupart des délais, cependant, ne sont pas de nature juridictionnelle.

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