Thursday, June 10, 2010

Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit hears cases OTHER THAN patent cases.
The fact pattern of a recent case included the following:

On June 9, 2006, Officer Morris was discovered using
a vacant office for personal reasons
when he was sup-
posed to be working. After an investigation, the USCP’s
[USCP=United States Capitol Police]
Disciplinary Review Officer proposed that Officer Morris
be terminated. Officer Morris exercised his contractual
right under the applicable collective bargaining agree-
ment to contest the proposed discipline before the USCP’s
Disciplinary Review Board (“DRB”). The DRB recom-
mended reducing the penalty to a 12-day suspension.
However, on July 16, 2007, the USCP’s Deputy Chief of
Police issued a memorandum in which he rejected the
DRB’s recommendation and stated that “the recommen-
dation of termination is hereby imposed.”

Within the decision, the CAFC noted:

It is a “well-established principle that federal courts,
as opposed to state trial courts of general jurisdiction, are
courts of limited jurisdiction marked out by Congress.”
Chertkov v. Office of Pers. Mgmt., 52 F.3d 961, 966 (Fed.
Cir. 1995). The jurisdiction of this court is “limited to
those subjects encompassed within a statutory grant of
jurisdiction.” Ins. Corp. of Ir. v. Compagnie des Bauxites
de Guinee, 456 U.S. 694, 701 (1982).

Bottom line: We therefore dismiss Officer Morris’s appeal for lack
of jurisdiction.


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