How to Submit Input on a Pending Proposal
These principles concerning public input during the Rules Enabling Act process were adopted by the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure on June 25, 2019.
Public input is an integral part of the rulemaking process. Public input helps participants in the process assess the need for, and likely effect of, proposed changes to the rules. To the extent possible, the process centralizes public input in a formal six-month window of time that occurs when a proposal is published for comment. During that window, the proposed amendments are posted online along with instructions on how to submit comments via regulations.gov.
If the proposal is currently published for comment, please use the instructions detailed on “Proposed Amendments Published for Public Comment.” If input is submitted outside a formal comment period, it should be addressed to the Secretary of the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure.
By Email: RulesCommittee_Secretary@ao.uscourts.gov
Rebecca A. Womeldorf, Secretary
Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure
Administrative Office of the United States Courts
One Columbus Circle NE
Washington, DC 20544
The Secretary will docket the submission and forward it to the relevant advisory committee. Submissions should not be presented directly to any other participant in the rulemaking process, and if a submission is presented to another participant, it will be forwarded to the Secretary for processing. This procedure is designed to ensure the orderly and transparent consideration of committee business.
When to Provide Input
Submitting a comment during the formal comment period ensures that it will be considered by the relevant advisory committee in deciding whether to proceed with a proposed rule change. The formal comment period is the standard, and the encouraged, mode for public input on pending proposals. Public input may also be solicited by an advisory committee outside the formal comment period. Such invitations for informal comment may take the form of a miniconference, a conference call with interested groups, or other requests for input.
Sometimes a person or group wishes to provide input about a pending rulemaking proposal outside the formal comment period window. There is no guarantee that a submission outside the formal comment window will be considered, but efforts may be made to take account of such submissions as the opportunity permits. To provide the best chance that a submission will receive consideration, it should be submitted while there is still an adequate opportunity for the advisory committee to benefit from the submission in its deliberations at the relevant advisory committee meeting.
By statute, Congress has tasked the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure (Standing Committee) with reviewing the recommendations and proposals made by the advisory committees. See 28 U.S.C. § 2073(b). For this reason, submissions should be presented at a time when the advisory committee can address them in its deliberations.
Submissions intended for consideration in the first instance by the Standing Committee are disfavored.
Submissions directed to the Standing Committee regarding an advisory committee’s decision to recommend a rule amendment for publication ordinarily will not be considered by the Standing Committee in determining whether to proceed with publication. Instead, if the Standing Committee decides to publish the proposed rule, the submission will be treated as a comment and docketed on regulations.gov once the official comment period opens. In the meantime, the submission will also be shared with the chair of the relevant advisory committee.
Similarly, except for good cause shown, submissions directed to the Standing Committee regarding an advisory committee’s decision to recommend a rule for final approval following publication will not be considered by the Standing Committee. Such good cause is expected to be rare, and one who makes such a submission should state the circumstances that the submitter argues establish good cause for the submission’s lateness. If good cause is not shown, the submission will be treated as a new suggestion and forwarded to the relevant advisory committee for consideration.
All submissions and comments are maintained by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts and are available to the public. At the discretion of a committee’s chair, submissions and comments may be reproduced in full, referenced, or summarized in a committee’s agenda book. This typically occurs, if at all, in the agenda book for a meeting of an advisory committee.
Public: Persons and entities outside the federal rules decision making structure set by the Rules Enabling Act. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 2072 - 2075.
Input: Any feedback from the public directed toward a matter that is under rulemaking consideration. “Input” includes
- a comment submitted during the formal comment period;
- an informal comment; and
- any other submission.
Comment: Input provided as part of the formal comment process on a published proposal. Comments are submitted via regulations.gov, and the notice publishing proposals for comment provides a link to the dedicated web page created for that purpose.
Informal Comment: Input received outside the formal comment process but in response to a request by a rulemaking committee. Informal requests for public input may include miniconferences, conference calls with interested groups, requests for written informal comment, or other means.
Submission: Unsolicited communication from a member of the public that is designed to provide input on a pending rulemaking proposal to one or more participants in the rulemaking process in their capacity as such. Submissions should be addressed to the Secretary of the Standing Committee rather than other rulemaking participants, including committee chairs, reporters, or committee members.