Circuit Judicial Council

Circuit Judicial Council in the United States

Entity designed to maximize the efficiency of federal courts within the geographic circuits. A circuit judicial council consists of the court of appeals judges from the circuit as well as a small number of district court judges. While council policies are typically followed voluntarily, councils are empowered by federal law to order judges within their respective circuits to comply with their directives. The councils watch the district court caseloads and the assignment of judges in an effort to ensure that trial courts remain as current as possible. Each circuit also has its own judicial conference. These circuit conferences are required by law to meet at least once a year. The conferences facilitate discussion of topics of mutual concern among the district court and court of appeals judges in the circuit.

See Also

Judicial Conference of the United States (Judicial Organization).

Analysis and Relevance

The circuit judicial councils are located in the middle levels of federal court administration. While certain management benefits do result, two major drawbacks can be identified. First, the councils seem unable to establish and enforce uniform standards. This is true because the councils are drawn from regional geographic bases, which encourages decentralization, autonomy of circuits, and localism. Second, court of appeals judges on the councils do not perceive themselves as administrative overseers of the trial courts. On the contrary, they see themselves as professional colleagues and seldom engage in real supervision.

Notes and References

  1. Definition of Circuit Judicial Council from the American Law Dictionary, 1991, California

Circuit Judicial Council: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Circuit Judicial Council. This part provides references, in relation to Circuit Judicial Council, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Circuit Judicial Council by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Circuit Judicial Council and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Circuit Judicial Council or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Circuit Judicial Council and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Circuit Judicial Council. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Circuit Judicial Council should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Circuit Judicial Council when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

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