National Association for the Advancement of Multijurisdiction Practice v. Howell, No. 16-5020 (D.C. Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
NAAMJP and two of its members filed suit alleging that bar admission conditions for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, established in the identical text of Local Civil Rule 83.8 and Local Criminal Rule 57.21 (collectively, the "Local Rule"), violate statutory and constitutional legal standards. The district court granted defendants' motion to dismiss. On appeal, NAAMJP argued that the Local Rule (1) violates the Rules Enabling Act, 28 U.S.C. 2071 and 2072; (2) runs afoul of the Supreme Court's decision in Frazier v. Heebe; (3) improperly applies rational basis review; and (4) violates 28 U.S.C. 1738, admission requirements of other federal courts and administrative agencies, and the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The court concluded that the district court properly concluded that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction to adjudicate all claims brought by Patent Lawyer Doe and all claims asserted against the Attorney General; NAAMJP has failed to identify any substantive right that has been infringed by the Local Rule; the Supreme Court in Frazier exercised its own unique supervisory authority to overturn a local rule regarding bar admission in the Eastern District of Louisiana and, in so doing, made no constitutional ruling; and the Principal Office Provision embodies a reasonable assumption: local licensing control is better positioned to facilitate training sessions, conduct monitoring programs, and field complaints from the public—all rational bases for the Local Rule. The court rejected NAAMJP's remaining claims and affirmed the judgment.