In April 2000, the United States Supreme Court promulgated, and Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist transmitted to the United States Congress, a comprehensive package of amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The Judicial Conference of the United States, the policymaking arm of the federal courts, had forwarded these proposals to the Supreme Court in September 1999, and the Justices transmitted the amendments to Congress without making any modifications. The new group of federal rules amendments warrants assessment for two reasons. First, a few provisions in the package of revisions are comparatively controversial and could significantly change important aspects of federal civil practice in the discovery process. Second, unless Congress exercises its authority under the Rules Enabling Act of 1934 to alter the amendments, they will become effective in December 2000. These propositions mean that the procedural modifications that the Supreme Court recently prescribed merit evaluation. This Article undertakes that effort.
Part I traces the origins and development of the amendments. Part II selectively analyzes the most disputed provisions in the amendments and considers the impacts of the 2000 revisions. Finding that certain amendments are rather controversial and may have substantial effects either individually or synergetically, Part III examines alternatives available to Congress and provides recommendations for it.
Carl Tobias, Congress and the 2000 Federal Civil Rules Amendments, 22 Cardozo L. Rev. 75 (2000)