Roommates.com En Banc Rehearing GRANTED!

By Eric Goldman

Terrific news from the Ninth Circuit this morning! They have granted an en banc hearing in the Fair Housing Council v. Roommates.com case and (as their rules require) designated the prior opinion non-precedential. The full text of the order:

Upon the vote of a majority of nonrecused regular active judges of this court,1 it is ordered that this case be reheard by the en banc court pursuant to Circuit Rule 35-3. The three-judge panel opinion shall not be cited as precedent by or to this court or any district court of the Ninth Circuit, except to the extent adopted by the en banc court.

The pertinent part of Circuit Rule 35-3:

The en banc court, for each case or group of related cases taken en banc, shall consist of the Chief Judge of this circuit and 10 additional judges to be drawn by lot from the active judges of the Court. In the absence of the Chief Judge, an 11th active judge shall be drawn by lot, and the most senior active judge on the panel shall preside….

When the court votes to rehear a matter en banc, the Chief Judge will enter an order so indicating. The vote tally is not communicated to the parties. The three-judge panel opinion shall not be cited as precedent by or to this court or any district court of the Ninth Circuit, except to the extent adopted by the en banc court. (Rev. 1/1/2000)

After the en banc court is chosen, the judges on the panel decide whether there will be oral argument or additional briefing. If there is to be oral argument, the Chief Judge (or the next senior active judge as the case may be) will enter an order designating the date, time and place of argument. If no oral argument is to be heard, the Chief Judge will designate a date, time, and place for a conference of the en banc court. That date will ordinarily be the submission date of the case. If any issues have been isolated for specific attention, the order may also set forth those issues and additional briefing may be ordered. The opinion of the three-judge panel shall not be cited as precedent by or to this court or any district court of the Ninth Circuit, except to the extent adopted by the en banc court.

I don’t know anything more about timing or procedure than this. Fortunately, in the interim, the old ruling is off the books and should not be able to do more damage.

Other documents in the case:

* Fair Housing Councils’ reply to the EFF et al amicus brief

* EFF et al amicus brief supporting a rehearing en banc

* Fair Housing Council’s response to Roommates.com’s request for an en banc rehearing

* Roommates.com’s En Banc Request

* The original Ninth Circuit opinion

* My blog post on the Ninth Circuit opinion

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