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the Administrator's interpretation as reasonable. Id. at 939 Petitioners do not contend that any of these exceptions
(citing Cheap'on U.S.A. Inc. v. Nat_raZ Resources DeSense apply here. Instead, they assert that in ACT we gave only
Council, 467 U.S. 837, 843--45 (1984) (court may not substitute cursory attention to the statutory interpretation argument
its own construction of ambiguous statutory provision for whereas, in their view, the law of the case doctrine applies
reasonable interpretation by agency of statute entrusted to only where the prior appeal has analyzed an issue at length.
its administration)). We were troubled, however, by three of We disagree on both counts. First, our treatment, of the
the eight criteria and remanded the case "for an explanation statutory interpretation question was entirely adequate. See-
as to how [these] had been utilized by the Administrator in end, even summarily treated issues beemne the law of the
reaching his decision?' Id. at 940. In particular, we were. case. In Christian.son v. Colt Ind_stries Operating Co_.,
concerned over the apparent impossibility of meeting the 486 U_S. 800, 817 (1988), the Supreme Court noted: "That the
fourth, fifth, and eighth criteria, all of which assumed an Federal Circuit did not explicate its rationale is irrelevant, for
availability of marijuana for medical purposes that was pro- the law of the case turns on whether a court previously
hibitad by Schedule I. 'decide_d] upon a rule of b_w'--_which _ho Federal Circ_fi_
necessarily did---not on whether or how well, it explained the
On March 26, 1992, the current Administrator issued the ._. ,,
decl_mno In AC7; we decided that it was not "an unreason-
order that is the subject of this appeal. See 57 Fed. Reg. able application of the statutory phrase [fm- the Administra-
10,499 (Mar. 26, 1992) ("Final Order"). tie concluded, on tor] to emphasize the lack of exact scientific knowledge as to
remand_ that his predecessor had not in fact relied on two of the chemical effects of the drug's elements."' 95t(t F.Yd at 939.
the three "impossible" criteria he exphined the third; and,
after applying new criteria, he again denied the petition to As noted above, out" only concern, in ACT, was with three
reschedu/e marijuana Id. at 10,5(t8. of the standards adopted by the Administrator and his possi-
ble reliance on them. As a consequence, in remanding the
H. D_scvssIo_ case, we asked him to explain how his decision had been
affected by those standards, tn the Final Order, the present
A. Law of the Case Administrator found that two of these criteria--the "general
availability of the subAance and the "use of the substance bv
We held, in ACT, that the Administrator's interpretation of a substantial sequent of ... medical practitioners"--@ayed
the CSA was reasonable. Under the "law of the case" no role in his predecessor's decision. See 57 Fed. Reg. at
doctrine, appellate courts do not reconsider matters resolved _ -
on a prior appeal _n the same proceeding. 18 Wright &
Miller, Federal Practice & Procedure § ,i,t78 at 788 (1981). FreSher, the Administrator fo_.md that his predecessor's
The doctrine is not a jurisdictional limitation; rather, it conclusion that marijuana failed to meet the third of the
"merely expresses the practice of courts generally to reflzse questioned criteria- -"recognition of [the drug's] cimicai use in
to reopen what has been decided .... "
Messenger v. generally accepted pharmacopeia"--rested on a determina-
Andvrson_ 225 U.So 436, 444 (1912). Thus, courta _qll recon- tion that marijuana lacked a known, reproducible chemistry.
sider previously decided questions in such exceptional cases See id. We had objected to the "recognition of clinical use"
as those in which there has been an inteta_ening change of standard only because it seemed to require widespread thera-
controlling law, or new evidence has surfaced, or the previous peutic use of the drug--an impossibility for Schedule I sub-
disposition has resulted in clear error or manifest injustice, stances. See ACT, 930 F.2d at 940. The Administrator's
18 Wright & Miller, § 4478 at 790. interpretation of that criterion meets our objection.
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