With the public domain citation system firmly in place in Illinois, there's no reason for Rule 23(e) nonprecedential, noncitable orders to exist - and plenty of reasons for them to go, argues Mount Vernon lawyer Morris Lane Harvey in the January Illinois Bar Journal.
Rule 23 allows a reviewing court to issue a decision as an unpublished order if the ruling does not make law. The Illinois Supreme Court adopted Rule 23 decades ago as part of a move to reduce the number of appellate opinions when shelves were groaning under the many volumes of print reporters. But now that the official opinions appear on the supreme court's website, not in print - and Rule 23 orders are archived and publicly available there as well - the principal rationale for allowing unpublished orders has vanished, Harvey argues.
And a look at supreme court stats reveals that many Rule 23 orders are hardly routine dispositions, he writes. "According to statistics published in Kirk Jenkins' Illinois Supreme Court Review blog in March 2015, 42.31 percent of the cases reviewed by the Illinois Supreme Court in the year 2014 were Rule 23(b) orders," he says. "If a central rationale for limiting Rule 23(b) is to 'curtail the publication of unnecessary opinions,' why have so many of them found their way onto the supreme court's docket?" Read Harvey's IBJ article to find out more.