The Judicial Conference of the United States today agreed to recommend to Congress the creation of new district and court of appeals judgeships (pdf) to meet workload demands in certain courts.
The recommendation, approved today by the federal Judiciary’s national policy-making body at its biannual meeting in Washington, asks Congress to create two permanent judgeships in the courts of appeals, and 66 permanent district court judgeships, convert seven temporary district court judgeships to permanent status, and extend two existing temporary district court judgeships for an additional five years.
In developing judgeship recommendations, the Judicial Conference and its resources committee use a formal survey process to study and evaluate Article III judgeship needs. Before a judgeship recommendation is transmitted to Congress, it undergoes several levels of careful consideration and review within the Judiciary. The surveys are conducted every two years and the resulting recommendations are based on established criteria, including current workload factors and empirical standards.
The last comprehensive judgeship bill for the U.S. courts of appeals and district courts, the Judicial Improvements Act of 1990, was enacted more than 30 years ago. View a history of authorized Article III judgeships.
In fiscal year 2022, weighted filings, which account for the different amounts of time district judges require to resolve various types of civil and criminal actions, were above 500 per judgeship in 17 of the 30 courts in which the Conference is recommending additional judgeships or the conversion/extension of existing temporary judgeships to permanent status.
In eight of these courts, weighted filings exceeded 600 per judgeship, and were greater than 700 per judgeship in three. The Conference generally requires courts to have over 430 weighted filings per judgeship to recommend additional judgeships. Weighted filings data for each district court are published in Federal Court Management Statistics.
The Conference today also received two new reports required by statute, Judicial Business, the Judiciary’s most comprehensive annual statistical workload report, and the Annual Report of the Director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, which reports on the activities of the Administrative Office and the Judiciary at large during the previous year.
The 26-member Judicial Conference (pdf) is the policy-making body for the federal court system. By statute, the Chief Justice of the United States serves as its presiding officer and its members are the chief judges of the 13 courts of appeals, a district judge from each of the 12 geographic circuits, and the chief judge of the Court of International Trade.
The Conference convenes twice a year to consider administrative and policy issues affecting the court system, and to make recommendations to Congress concerning legislation involving the Judicial Branch.
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