Featured / Supreme Court Activity

This morning the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Harrow v. Department of Defense, one of two cases decided by the Federal Circuit that the Supreme Court is reviewing during its current term. In this case, the Court reviewed the Federal Circuit’s holding that the deadline for a federal employee to appeal an adverse judgment of the Merit Systems Protection Board is jurisdictional. Vacating the judgment of the Federal Circuit, the Supreme Court today held that the deadline is not jurisdictional. The Court, however, did not reach the question of whether, as a result, equitable tolling is available, instead remanding the case for the Federal Circuit to rule on that issue. Here is the introduction to the Court’s opinion. We will provide an opinion summary next week.

Harrow v. Department of Defense

A federal employee subjected to an adverse personnel action may complain to the Merit Systems Protection Board. If the Board rules against him, he may appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ‘within 60 days.’ 5 U. S. C. §7703(b)(1). The question presented is whether that 60-day limit is ‘jurisdictional,’ and therefore precludes equitable exceptions. We hold that the limit, like most filing deadlines, is not jurisdictional.