The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that Pollard waited too long to try to contest his 1987 sentence and failed to make a convincing case that he got poor legal help.
The court also ruled that it had no authority to review Pollard's request to see secret documents the Reagan administration submitted to the judge who imposed the sentence 18 years ago.
Pollard's lawyers said they needed to see the material to rebut government arguments against any new appeal or against a request for presidential clemency.
Pollard faulted his original lawyer for not filing a notice of appeal in 1986 when the government, according to Pollard's lawyers, in effect sought a term of life imprisonment after promising it would not do so.
Writing for a three-judge panel, Judge David Sentelle rejected as "nonsensical" the argument that Pollard did not realize the alleged mistake by his lawyer at the time.
"Pollard knew the facts," Sentelle said. "What he now claims not to have known is the legal significance of these facts."
Eliot Lauer, Pollard's attorney, said he was "very disappointed" with the opinion and may file a request for rehearing from the full appeals court or seek appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.