The Judicial Conference of the United States
Creation of Judicial Conference
In 1922, the United States Congress created a body called the Conference of Senior Circuit Judges to administer the federal judiciary. In 1948, Congress passed additional legislation and changed the name of the governing body to the Judicial Conference of the United States. The Judicial Conference handles the administrative matters of the federal court system.
Composition of Judicial Conference
By law, the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court is the presiding officer of the Judicial Conference. Other members of the Judicial Conference include the chief judge of each of the 13 judicial circuits, the chief judge of the Court of International Trade, and 12 district judges from the regional circuits. The district judges are elected by a majority vote of the circuit and district judges of their circuit. They serve for terms of three to five years. In all, 27 federal judges serve as members of the Judicial Conference.
Responsibilities of Judicial Conference
The Judicial Conference surveys the ongoing operation of the federal courts and adopts a plan for the assignment of judges. The Judicial Conference also makes recommendations for management procedures to expedite the business of the federal courts. The Judicial Conference is charged with evaluating the rules of practice and procedure used in the federal courts and proposing amendments to the federal court procedure rules. The Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts is supervised by the Judicial Conference. As the presiding officer, the Chief Justice recommends legislation and submits to Congress an annual report of the Judicial Conference’s activities.
Judicial Conference Committees
The Judicial Conference meets twice each year in Washington, D.C. In the interim, the Judicial Conference works through various committees and subcommittees. The Chief Justice makes all committee appointments. Committee members generally serve a three-year term. The committee chairs have authority to appoint members of the committee to serve on subcommittees. The Chief Justice has to approve the appointment of non-committee members to subcommittees. The Executive Committee of the Judicial Conference has primary responsibility for acting on behalf of the Judicial Conference. Committees have been created to study and make recommendations on a variety of subjects, including technology, codes of conduct, rules of practice and procedure, case management, security, and judicial resources.
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