The Supreme Court on Wednesday adopted a historic rule change that will allow lawyers to cite so-called unpublished opinions in federal courts starting next year. The new rule takes effect unless Congress countermands it before Dec. 1.

The justices’ vote represents a major milestone in the long-running debate over unpublished opinions, the sometimes-cursory dispositions that resolve upward of 80 percent of cases in federal appeals courts nationwide. In some circuits these dispositions have no precedential value and cannot be cited.

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