The Myth of the Disposable Opinion: Unpublished Opinions and Government Litigants in the United States Courts of Appeals

This article discusses the courts’ adoption of the limited publication plans and analyzes the methods used by the courts to discourage the use of unpublished opinions. It also discusses the results of a survey conducted to determine if, and how, government litigants – some of the chief unanticipated beneficiaries of the publication plans make use of unpublished opinions. Finally, it challenges the assumption that limited publication is essential in an age of caseload crisis.