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United States v. Secretary, Florida Department of Corrections

United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

February 27, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
SECRETARY, FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, Defendant-Appellant

Page 1224

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. D.C. Docket No. 1:12-cv-22958-PAS.

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Christopher Chen-Hsin Wang, Michael J. Songer, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division, Appellate Staff, Washington, DC; Dennis John Dimsey, Mark L. Gross, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Appellate Section, Washington, DC; Wifredo A. Ferrer, Veronica Harrell-James, Kathleen Mary Salyer, U.S. Attorney's Office, Miami, FL; Deena S. Fox, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC.

For Secretary, Florida Department of Corrections, Defendant - Appellant: Jamie Melissa Braun, Dean Clinton Kowalchyk, Susan Adams Maher, Lisa Kuhlman Tietig, Jason Vail, Office of the Attorney General, Tallahassee, FL.

For The American Civil Liberties Union, Aclu of Florida, Amicus Curiaes: Shay Dvoretzky, Jones Day, Washington, DC.

For American Jewish Committee, Amicus Curiae: Michael Lazaroff, Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft, LLP, New York, NY.

For International Society For Krishna Consciousness, Christian Legal Society, Hindu American Foundation, Amicus Curiaes: James Andrew Sonne, Stanford Law School, Stanford, CA.

For National Jewish Commission on Law And Public Affairs, Agudath Harabbanimof of U.S. And Canada, Agudath Israel of America, Aleph Institute, Rabbinical Alliance of America, Rabbinical Counsel of America, National Counsel of Young Israel, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregation of America, Amicus Curiaes: Nathan Lewin, Lewin & Lewin, LLP, Washington, DC.

Before ED CARNES, Chief Judge, RESTANI,[*] Judge, and MERRYDAY,[**] District Judge.

OPINION

Page 1225

ED CARNES, Chief Judge:

There is a vast amount of federal law. So much tat no one can hope to keep it all in mind, much less master the mass of it. But it was not always so. The current universe of federal law did begin with a bang, although not a big one. It began with a Constitution on four parchment pages, followed by a Bill of Rights on one more.[1] But the Constitution begat Congress, and Congress begat statutes -- lots and lots of statutes. The current version of them fills 45,000 pages of the United States Code.[2] Those statutes begat hundreds of administrative agencies, and many of those agencies begat regulations -- lots and lots of them. So many that the Code of Federal Regulations fills 235 volumes and is 175,000 pages long, give or take a few thousand pages.[3] As the number of statutes and regulations has multiplied exponentially, so has decisional law. Supreme Court decisions fill 573 volumes of the official United States Reports, while federal court of appeals decisions fill 2,000 or so volumes of the Federal Reporter series.

Truly, federal laws have multiplied to become " beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore." [4] Charting a course through this universe of federal law, which is expanding at an ever-accelerating rate, can be difficult. Attorneys and judges sometimes overlook a statutory provision, a regulation, or a decision that ...


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