Federal Judgeships: The General Accuracy of the Case-Related Workload Measures Used to Assess the Need for Additional District Court and Courts of Appeals Judgeships

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Correspondence issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Biennially, the Judicial Conference, the federal judiciary's principal policymaking body, assesses the judiciary's needs for additional judgeships. If the Conference determines that additional judgeships are needed, it transmits a request to Congress identifying the number, type (courts of appeals, district, or bankruptcy), and location of the judgeships it is requesting. In 2003, the Judicial Conference sent to Congress requests for 93 new judgeships--11 for the courts of appeals, 46 for the district courts, and 36 for the bankruptcy courts. In assessing the need for additional judgeships, the Judicial ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. May 30, 2003.

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Correspondence issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Biennially, the Judicial Conference, the federal judiciary's principal policymaking body, assesses the judiciary's needs for additional judgeships. If the Conference determines that additional judgeships are needed, it transmits a request to Congress identifying the number, type (courts of appeals, district, or bankruptcy), and location of the judgeships it is requesting. In 2003, the Judicial Conference sent to Congress requests for 93 new judgeships--11 for the courts of appeals, 46 for the district courts, and 36 for the bankruptcy courts. In assessing the need for additional judgeships, the Judicial Conference considers a variety of information, including responses to its biennial survey of individual courts, temporary increases or decreases in case filings, and other factors specific to an individual court. However, the Judicial Conference's analysis begins with the courts of appeals--weighted case filings and adjusted case filings, respectively. These two measures recognize, to different degrees, that the time demands on judges are largely a function of both the number and complexity of the cases on their dockets. Some types of cases may demand relatively little time and others may require many hours of work. Generally, each case filed in a district court is assigned a weight representing the average amount of judge time the case is expected to require. Using these measures, individual courts whose past case-related workload meets the threshold established by the Judicial Conference may be considered for additional judgeships. Authorized judgeships are the total number of judgeships authorized by statute for each district court and court of appeals. The Judicial Conference relies on these quantitative workload measures to be reasonably accurate rests in turn on the soundness of the methodology used to develop them. Whether those measures are reasonably accurate rests in turn on the soundness of the methodology used to develop them. Our objectives were to (1) determine whether the methods the Judicial Conference uses to quantitatively measure the case-related workload of district court and court of appeals judges results in a reasonably accurate measure of judges' case-related workload, (2) asses the reasonableness of any proposed methodologies to update the workload measures, and (3) obtain information from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts on the steps the Judiciary takes to ensure that the case filing data required for these workload measures are accurate."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • May 30, 2003

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Federal Judgeships: The General Accuracy of the Case-Related Workload Measures Used to Assess the Need for Additional District Court and Courts of Appeals Judgeships, text, May 30, 2003; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc295704/: accessed April 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.