Supreme Court Clarifies Which Deadlines Are Jurisdictional

In Hamer v. Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, the Court, in a unanimous opinion by Justice Ginsburg, set forth a clear and easy way to tell whether a deadline is jurisdictional, and cannot be waived or extended, or is merely a “claim-processing rule” that can be extended: deadlines provided by statute are jurisdictional, while deadlines provided by court rules are not. Since Congress determines the jurisdiction of the courts, an appeal filed beyond the statutory deadline necessarily deprives the court of jurisdiction to hear the appeal, while court-created rules do not. In this case, after losing on summary judgment, Hamer sought a two-month extension of the notice of appeal filing date, which was granted by the district court. Hamer filed her notice of appeal a few days before the additional two months expired. On appeal, the Seventh Circuit dismissed the appeal because it was filed beyond the 30-day limit on extensions provided by Fed. R. App. P. 4(a)(5)(C). The Court reversed, holding that the court Rule’s 30-day limitation was not jurisdictional in nature, and thus the district court’s extension was permissible. A link to the opinion is here.