Schnecksville, PA asked in Gov & Administrative Law for Pennsylvania

Q: Does a ruling from 3rd circuit bind the lower courts in the 5th Circuit?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Jake Causing Santos
Jake Causing Santos

A: No. A decision made in one Circuit is only binding on the lower courts in the same Circuits, not the courts in other Circuits. There are frequent cases when one Circuit interprets the same law in one way and another Circuit makes the completely opposite interpretation. This is regularly referred to as a "split among the Circuits." In such cases, splits are usually not resolved unless the U.S. Supreme Court makes a decision on the issue or Congress enacts new laws that makes the issue a moot point.

However, if a Circuit has never decided an issue, the Circuit Court may look to other Circuits or lower courts outside of the Circuit for guidance or suggestions.

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