Blawgletter admires the careful work that goes into rulings by our U.S. courts of appeals. But we especially like the effort that some, but not all, of the courts put into making the decision-making process, up high and down below, transparent.
Seven of the courts stand out. This bare majority of the 13 circuits show in their opinions both the date of oral argument and the name of the district judge: Second Circuit, Third Circuit, Fourth Circuit, Sixth Circuit, Seventh Circuit, Ninth Circuit, and D.C. Circuit. You thus can tell how quickly the courts of appeals did their job and identify the district judge who erred or got it right.
Two of the circuits sit in a middle tier. The First Circuit and Federal Circuit name the district judge but don't give the oral argument date.
The rest do neither of the things that would help lawyers, clients, the public, and other judges see how good a job the judges have done in making timely and correct rulings: Fifth Circuit, Eighth Circuit, Tenth Circuit, and Eleventh Circuit.
Why do some courts excel at transparency while others fall short? We can't speculate and wouldn't want to even if we could.
But we do know that, to us at least, more and better information enhances our confidence in judicial performance of the duty "to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding." Fed. R. Civ. P. 1. We urge all courts to adopt the best practices of the first tier courts — the Second, Third, Fourth, Sixth, Seventh, Ninth, and D.C. Circuits.
We also note that, among the stand-outs, the Second does the very best. That court not only provides the date of argument and the name of the district judge but also includes a synopsis of the issues and the outcome at the start of each opinion. Kudos.