Devlin v. Scardelletti, 536 U.S. 1, 13 (2002)

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Cite as: 536 U. S. 1 (2002)

Opinion of the Court

a limited number of instances where the initial intervention motion would be of any use: where the objector is not actually a member of the settlement class or is otherwise not entitled to relief from the settlement, where an objector seeks to appeal even though his objection was successful, where the objection at the fairness hearing was untimely, or where there is a need to consolidate duplicative appeals from class members. Id., at 23-25. In such situations, the Government argues, a district court can disallow such problematic and unnecessary appeals.

This seems to us, however, of limited benefit. In the first two of these situations, the objector stands to gain nothing by appeal, so it is unlikely such situations will arise with any frequency. Justice Scalia argues that if such objectors were undeterred by this fact at the time they filed their original objections, they will be undeterred at the appellate level. See post, at 21-22. This misunderstands the point. As to the first group—those who are not actually entitled to relief—one would not expect them to have filed objections in the district court in the first place. The few irrational persons who wish to pursue one round of meaningless relief will, we agree, probably be irrational enough to pursue a second. But there should not be many of such persons in any case. As for the second—those whose objections were successful at the district court level—they were far from irrational in the filing of their initial objections, and they should not generally be expected to lose this level of sensibility when faced with the prospect of a meaningless appeal. Moreover, even if such cases did arise with any frequency, such concerns could be addressed by a standing inquiry at the appellate level.

The third situation—dealing with untimely objections— implicates basic concerns about waiver and should be easily addressable by a court of appeals. A court of appeals also has the ability to avoid the fourth by consolidating cases rais-


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