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Report of the Proceedings, Judicial Conference of the United States, 2014

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REPORT OF THE PROCEEDINGS
OF THE JUDICIAL CONFERENCE
OF THE UNITED STATES
September 16, 2014
The Judicial Conference of the United States convened in Washington,
D.C., on September 16, 2014, pursuant to the call of the Chief Justice of the
United States issued under 28 U.S.C. § 331. The Chief Justice presided, and
the following members of the Conference were present:
First Circuit:
Chief Judge Sandra L. Lynch
Judge Paul J. Barbadoro,
District of New Hampshire
Second Circuit:
Chief Judge Robert A. Katzmann
Chief Judge William M. Skretny,
Western District of New York
Third Circuit:
Chief Judge Theodore A. McKee
Chief Judge Joy Flowers Conti,
Western District of Pennsylvania
Fourth Circuit:
Chief Judge William B. Traxler, Jr.
Chief Judge Deborah K. Chasanow,
District of Maryland
Fifth Circuit:
Chief Judge Carl E. Stewart
Chief Judge Louis Guirola, Jr.,
Southern District of Mississippi

Judicial Conference of the United States

September 16, 2014

Sixth Circuit:
Chief Judge Ransey Guy Cole, Jr.
Chief Judge Paul Lewis Maloney,
Western District of Michigan
Seventh Circuit:
Chief Judge Diane P. Wood
Chief Judge Rubén Castillo,
Northern District of Illinois
Eighth Circuit:
Chief Judge William Jay Riley
Judge Rodney W. Sippel,
Eastern District of Missouri
Ninth Circuit:
Chief Judge Alex Kozinski
Judge Robert S. Lasnik,
Western District of Washington
Tenth Circuit:
Chief Judge Mary Beck Briscoe
Judge Dee V. Benson,
District of Utah
Eleventh Circuit:
Chief Judge Ed Carnes
Judge W. Louis Sands,
Middle District of Georgia
District of Columbia Circuit:
Chief Judge Merrick B. Garland
Chief Judge Richard W. Roberts,
District of Columbia

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Judicial Conference of the United States

September 16, 2014

Federal Circuit:
Chief Judge Sharon Prost
Court of International Trade:
Chief Judge Timothy C. Stanceu
The following current or incoming Judicial Conference committee
chairs also attended the Conference session: Circuit Judges Steven M.
Colloton, Julia Smith Gibbons, Thomas M. Hardiman, Diarmuid F.
O’Scannlain, Reena Raggi, Anthony J. Scirica, D. Brooks Smith, Jeffrey S.
Sutton, and Timothy M. Tymkovich; District Judges Nancy F. Atlas,
Catherine C. Blake, David G. Campbell, Gary A. Fenner, Sidney A. Fitzwater,
Irene M. Keeley, Royce C. Lamberth, Lawrence L. Piersol, Joel A. Pisano,
Danny C. Reeves, Julie A. Robinson, Rebecca Beach Smith, and Richard W.
Story; and Bankruptcy Judge Eugene R. Wedoff. Attending as the bankruptcy
judge and magistrate judge observers were Bankruptcy Judge Brenda T.
Rhoades and Magistrate Judge Alan J. Baverman. David Tighe of the Tenth
Circuit represented the circuit executives.
District Judge John D. Bates, Director of the Administrative Office of
the United States Courts, attended the session of the Conference, as did Jill
C. Sayenga, Deputy Director; Robert K. Loesche, General Counsel; Jeffrey A.
Hennemuth, Secretariat Officer, and Katherine H. Simon, Attorney Advisor,
Judicial Conference Secretariat; Cordia A. Strom, Legislative Affairs Officer;
and David A. Sellers, Public Affairs Officer. District Judge Jeremy D. Fogel,
Director, Federal Judicial Center, and Chief District Judge Patti B. Saris,
Chair, and Kenneth P. Cohen, Staff Director, United States Sentencing
Commission, were in attendance at the session of the Conference, as was
Jeffrey P. Minear, Counselor to the Chief Justice.
Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole addressed the Conference on
matters of mutual interest to the judiciary and the Department of Justice.
Senators Patrick J. Leahy, Christopher Coons, Jeff Sessions, and Mike
Johanns and Representatives Bob Goodlatte, John S. Conyers, Jr., and Howard
Coble spoke on matters pending in Congress of interest to the Conference.

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REPORTS
Judge Bates reported to the Conference on the judicial business of the
courts and on matters relating to the Administrative Office (AO). Judge Fogel
spoke to the Conference about Federal Judicial Center (FJC) programs, and
Chief Judge Saris reported on United States Sentencing Commission
activities. Judge Gibbons, Chair of the Committee on the Budget, presented a
special report on budgetary matters.

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
RESOLUTION
The Judicial Conference approved a recommendation of the Executive
Committee to adopt the following resolution recognizing the substantial
contributions made by Judicial Conference committee chairs whose terms of
service end in 2014:
The Judicial Conference of the United States recognizes with
appreciation, respect, and admiration the following judicial
officers:
HONORABLE JOHN M. ROGERS
Committee on Codes of Conduct
HONORABLE JULIE A. ROBINSON
Committee on Court Administration and Case Management
HONORABLE JOSEPH H. McKINLEY, JR.
Committee on Financial Disclosure
HONORABLE EUGENE R. WEDOFF
Advisory Committee on Bankruptcy Rules
HONORABLE SIDNEY A. FITZWATER
Advisory Committee on Evidence Rules
Appointed as committee chairs by the Chief Justice of the
United States, these outstanding jurists have played a vital role
in the administration of the federal court system. These judges
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served with distinction as leaders of their Judicial Conference
committees while, at the same time, continuing to perform their
duties as judges in their own courts. They have set a standard
of skilled leadership and earned our deep respect and sincere
gratitude for their innumerable contributions. We acknowledge
with appreciation their commitment and dedicated service to
the Judicial Conference and to the entire federal judiciary.

FISCAL YEAR 2015 INTERIM FINANCIAL PLANS
Pending congressional action on the judciary’s appropriations for the
2015 fiscal year, the Executive Committee approved proposed fiscal year 2015
interim financial plans for the Salaries and Expenses (S&E), Defender
Services, Court Security, and Fees of Jurors and Commissioners accounts.
The interim plan for the S&E account assumes total available resources of
$5,557.9 million, $177.1 million below current requirements, but $165.6
million or 3.1 percent over the final FY 2014 financial plan. The plan for the
S&E account also incorporates a strategy for distributing allotments to court
units. On a national basis, courts will receive an increase of $76 million or 3.9
percent over FY 2014 decentralized funding, which should allow most court
units to maintain on-board staffing levels and hire staff as necessary to address
workload needs. The interim plans for the Defender Services, Court Security,
and Fees of Jurors accounts fully fund the requirements for those accounts.

MISCELLANEOUS ACTIONS
The Executive Committee —
•

Approved a proposed approach to updating the Strategic Plan for the
Federal Judiciary.

•

Approved a request from the Committee on Judicial Conduct and
Disability to release for 60 days of public comment, under 28 U.S.C.
§ 358(c), a draft of possible amendments to the Judicial Conference
Rules for Judicial-Conduct and Judicial-Disability Proceedings.

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COMMITTEE ON AUDITS AND
ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE ACCOUNTABILITY
COMMITTEE ACTIVITIES
The Committee on Audits and Administrative Office Accountability
reported that it was briefed on the progress of an ongoing audit of the
judiciary’s appropriations. In addition, it was briefed on cyclical audits of
courts, federal public defender offices, community defender organization
grantees, Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy trustees, registry investments,
retirement trust funds, the Public Access to Court Electronic Records
(PACER) program, and the Central Violations Bureau. The Committee also
discussed actions taken following a special audit, the schedule for a risk-based
audit pilot, and internal control developments.

COMMITTEE ON THE ADMINISTRATION
OF THE BANKRUPTCY SYSTEM
CASE WEIGHTS FOR CHAPTER 11 MEGA CASES
In September 2010, the Judicial Conference adopted new case weights
to be used for assessing bankruptcy judgeship needs, based on a study
conducted by the FJC in 2008-2009 (JCUS-SEP 10, pp. 8-9). Concerned that
the weight given to Chapter 11 mega cases did not adequately reflect the
workload associated with such cases, the Committee asked the FJC to
examine whether an adjustment was warranted. Based on the FJC analysis,
the Committee recommended an amendment to the 2008-2009 case weights to
include an adjustment for Chapter 11 mega cases that takes into consideration
the higher level of activity in those cases as well as the number of jointly
administered cases comprising the mega case. The Judicial Conference
approved the Committee’s recommendation.

CONTINUING NEED FOR BANKRUPTCY JUDGESHIPS
In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 152(b)(3), the Judicial Conference
conducts a comprehensive review of all judicial districts every other year to
assess the continuing need for authorized bankruptcy judgeships. By
December 31 of each even-numbered year, the Conference reports to Congress
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its findings and any recommendations for the elimination of an authorized
bankruptcy judgeship position that can be eliminated when a vacancy exists by
reason of resignation, retirement, removal, or death. On recommendation of
the Bankruptcy Committee, which relied on the results of the 2014 continuing
needs survey, the Conference agreed to take the following actions:
a.

Recommend to Congress that no bankruptcy judgeship be statutorily
eliminated; and

b.

Advise the Eighth Circuit Judicial Council with respect to the District
of South Dakota and the Northern District of Iowa, the Ninth Circuit
Judicial Council with respect to the District of Alaska, and the Tenth
Circuit Judicial Council with respect to the Western District of
Oklahoma to consider not filling vacancies that currently exist or may
occur by reason of resignation, retirement, removal, or death, until
there is a demonstrated need to do so.

BANKRUPTCY JUDGESHIP PILOT PROJECT
No additional bankruptcy judgeships have been created since 2005 and
existing temporary judgeships in districts with high caseloads are due to
expire in 2017. To better align available judicial resources with need, the
Committee recommended, and the Judicial Conference approved, a pilot
project for implementation in fiscal year 2015 that would allow a longstanding bankruptcy judgeship vacancy to be filled and the judge lent, through
the use of an intercircuit assignment and an agreement between volunteer
circuits, to a district that has an emergency need for an additional bankruptcy
judgeship.

COMMITTEE ACTIVITIES
The Committee on the Administration of the Bankruptcy System
reported that it is continuing to oversee several matters regarding bankruptcy
judgeship resources, including the continuing and additional need judgeship
survey processes, prioritization of judgeship recommendations and whether to
request temporary judgeships in 2015, and intracircuit and intercircuit
assignments. The Committee also recommended to the Budget Committee
funding for recalled bankruptcy judges, temporary law clerks, and the
bankruptcy administrator program for FY 2015. Additionally, the Committee
concurred with the Court Administration and Case Management Committee’s
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recommendations to the Judicial Conference to increase the fee due upon
notice that a direct appeal has been authorized from a bankruptcy court to a
court of appeals and to adopt a national policy for redaction of private
information from bankruptcy records, along with a new fee for such
redactions.

COMMITTEE ON THE BUDGET
FISCAL YEAR 2016 BUDGET REQUEST
After considering the FY 2016 budget requests of the program
committees, the Budget Committee recommended to the Judicial Conference a
request of $6,687 million in discretionary appropriations, which is 3.9 percent
above assumed discretionary appropriations for fiscal year 2015, but $4.2
million below the funding levels requested by the program committees. One
reduction was to the Defender Services Committee’s request to increase the
non-capital hourly Criminal Justice Act (CJA) panel attorney rate by $16
(above expected employment cost index (ECI) adjustments) to bring that rate
to the statutory maximum, estimated to be $144 per hour. Instead, the Budget
Committee included a request for a $6 increase above the expected ECI
adjustments. After discussion of this issue, the Conference approved the
budget request submitted by the Budget Committee, including the $6 increase
in the non-capital hourly CJA panel attorney rate, subject to amendments
necessary as a result of (a) new legislation, (b) actions of the Judicial
Conference, or (c) any other reason the Executive Committee considers
necessary and appropriate.

COMMITTEE ACTIVITIES
The Committee on the Budget reported that it recognizes that the
overall budget environment is not likely to improve significantly over the next
several years, so cost containment remains a necessity for the forseeable
future. The Committee requested that the Administrative Office, working
through its advisory structure, develop possible incentives to facilitate cost
containment for consideration by the appropriate Judicial Conference
committees and the Budget Committee during the upcoming December
2014/January 2015 committee meetings. The Committee also approved
updates to several non-salary funding formulas for use beginning with the
FY 2015 financial plan.
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COMMITTEE ON CODES OF CONDUCT
COMMITTEE ACTIVITIES
The Committee on Codes of Conduct reported that since its last report
to the Judicial Conference in March 2014, the Committee received 26
new written inquiries and issued 24 written advisory responses. During this
period, the average response time for requests was 13 days. In addition, the
Committee chair responded to 37 informal inquiries, individual Committee
members responded to 174 informal inquiries, and Committee counsel
responded to 527 informal inquiries, for a total of 738 informal inquiries.

COMMITTEE ON COURT ADMINISTRATION
AND CASE MANAGEMENT
REDACTION OF BANKRUPTCY RECORDS ALREADY FILED
Redaction Policy. The judiciary’s privacy policy relating to electronic
access to bankruptcy case files was originally adopted by the Conference in
September 2001 (JCUS-SEP/OCT 01, pp. 48-50), and incorporated into
Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 9037 in 2007. It authorizes remote,
electronic access to bankruptcy case files as long as certain personal data
identifiers are partially redacted. Over the years since the policy was adopted,
bankruptcy courts have received a number of requests to amend filings
because of a creditor’s failure to properly redact personal identifiers as
required by Rule 9037. To provide guidance to courts on how to process these
requests, the Committee on Court Administration and Case Management, in
consultation with the Bankruptcy Committee, developed a policy to address
issues such as whether it is necessary to reopen a case in order to make the
necessary redactions, who should receive notice of such requests, and how
courts should handle large-scale redaction requests. On recommendation of
the Committee, the Judicial Conference approved the proposed policy and
delegated to the Committee on Court Administration and Case Management
authority to make non-substantive, technical, or conforming amendments.
Miscellaneous Fees Related to Redaction. The Committee on Court
Administration and Case Management, in consultation with the Bankruptcy
Committee, recommended two amendments to the Bankruptcy Court
Miscellaneous Fee Schedule to address proceedings initiated to redact
bankruptcy case files. First, the Committee recommended, and the
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September 16, 2014

Conference agreed to adopt, the following new fee to file a motion to redact a
record, effective December 1, 2014:
(21) For filing a motion to redact a record, $25 per affected case. The
court may waive this fee under appropriate circumstances.
This fee is intended to take into account the court workload related to motions
to redact, and to serve as an incentive for filers to use caution when filing
documents containing personal identifiers.
The Committee was also concerned that fees for such motions not be
prohibitive. The redaction policy adopted by the Conference at this session
(see above) clarifies that a court typically should not reopen a closed case
solely to redact personal identifiers. However, to address instances in which
the court does decide to reopen for that purpose alone, the Committee
recommended that the reopening fee (which is equivalent to the original case
filing fee) not apply. The Conference agreed to add new exception language,
also to be effective on December 1, 2014, as follows:
The reopening fee must not be charged in the following
situations:
[...]
•
to redact a record already filed in a case, pursuant to
Fed. R. Bankr. P. 9037, if redaction is the only reason
for reopening.

ADDITIONAL MISCELLANEOUS FEES
Bankruptcy Court Miscellaneous Fee Schedule. An appeal to a court
of appeals in a bankruptcy case can proceed in one of two ways–either directly
from the bankruptcy court to the court of appeals or from the bankruptcy court
to the district court or a bankruptcy appellate panel, and then to the court of
appeals. The fee for a direct appeal is set in Item 14 of the Bankruptcy Court
Miscellaneous Fee Schedule and consists of two parts: $293 upon filing the
notice of appeal and an additional $157 upon notice from the court of appeals
that the appeal has been authorized, for a total of $450. The fee for an appeal
from a district court or bankruptcy appellate panel to the court of appeals is set
in Item 1 of the Court of Appeals Miscellaneous Fee Schedule; that fee was
increased in September 2013 from $450 to $500. In order to maintain parity
in the cost of the two methods for pursuing an appeal, the Committee
recommended, and the Conference approved, an increase from $157 to $207
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September 16, 2014

in the fee due upon notice that the direct appeal or cross appeal has been
authorized, effective December 1, 2014, so that the fees for a direct appeal or
cross appeal also total $500.
Court of Appeals Miscellaneous Fee Schedule. On recommendation of
the Committee, the Judicial Conference amended the Court of Appeals
Miscellaneous Fee Schedule to clarify that the $500 docketing fee set forth in
Item 1 should be collected in addition to the statutory fee of $5 that is
collected under 28 U.S.C. § 1917. This change was made in response to
numerous inquiries from district court clerks about the relationship between
these two fees.

BANKRUPTCY NOTICING CENTER
APPROPRIATE USE POLICY
Under the United States Bankruptcy Code and the Federal Rules of
Bankruptcy Procedure, courts are required to provide notices to large numbers
of interested parties in bankruptcy cases. To reduce noticing costs and
streamline the noticing process, in 1993, the Administrative Office established
the Bankruptcy Noticing Center (BNC), which uses a private contractor to
provide centralized notice production and distribution services to bankruptcy
courts. To further reduce noticing costs, at this session, the Committee
recommended an Appropriate Use Policy to clarify the types of notices that
should not be sent through the BNC (e.g., notices the cost of which can be
placed on litigants instead of the taxpayers). The Conference approved the
policy and delegated to the Committee authority to make non-substantive,
technical, or conforming amendments.

EQUAL ACCESS TO JUSTICE ACT
As originally enacted, the Equal Access to Justice Act of 1980
(EAJA), Public Law No. 96-481, required the judiciary to file an annual report
with Congress on federal court and administrative awards of attorney fees
against the United States. While the legislation was still pending in Congress,
the Judicial Conference expressed opposition to such a requirement on the
ground that government agencies paying attorney fees, rather than the Director
of the Administrative Office, should be required to report those payments
(JCUS-SEP 79, pp. 65-66). However, the judiciary was unsuccessful in
having the requirement removed before the statute was enacted. The judiciary
then sought a legislative amendment to transfer this reporting requirement to
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September 16, 2014

the Department of Justice (DOJ) and other litigating agencies (JCUS-MAR
92, p. 14). In 1992, Congress did transfer the responsibility to the DOJ, and
then in 1995 eliminated the requirement altogether. Legislation currently
pending in Congress, the Open Book on Equal Access to Justice Act, H.R.
2919, 113th Congress, would reimpose on the judiciary reporting
requirements similar to those initially contained in EAJA. Noting that the
judiciary’s case management system does not collect the information sought,
and that imposing such a requirement would unduly burden the courts, the
Committee recommended that the Judicial Conference reaffirm its position
that any required reporting to Congress (or to any other entity) of attorney fees
paid pursuant to the Equal Access to Justice Act (as would be required in H.R.
2919) be made by the government agencies paying such attorney fees, rather
than by the Director of the Administrative Office, as those agencies are best
positioned to report the information. The Conference approved the
Committee’s recommendation.
The proposed legislation would also require the judiciary to provide
information for public dissemination that is subject to a court sealing order,
possibly resulting in expensive satellite litigation to oppose the exposure of
sealed information or opening the door for the unsealing of other types of
confidential data. The Committee recommended that the Judicial Conference
oppose any legislation that would have the effect of requiring the federal
courts to unseal, or otherwise make public, information that is meant to be
confidential under a federal court order. The Conference approved the
Committee’s recommendation.

JURY FORM AO 12
The Jury Selection and Service Act (Public Law No. 90-274) requires
district courts to create a plan for the random selection of jurors representing a
fair cross section of the community within their district or divisions. The
Judicial Conference created Form AO 12, the “Report on Operation of the
Jury Selection Plan,” to help district courts to comply with the Jury Act
requirements. A Ninth Circuit opinion states that the most accurate way to
calculate the percentage of each demographic group in the jury wheel is to
exclude from the calculation those juror responses in which the relevant (e.g.,
racial or ethnic) background is not indicated. See, United States v. RodriguezLara, 421 F.3d 932, 944 n. 11 (9th Cir. 2005). The Committee recommended
that Form AO 12 be amended to assist the Ninth Circuit district courts in
complying with this instruction, as well as to allow district courts in other
circuits to choose which method to use in reporting juror pool
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representativeness. The Committee also recommended several technical or
conforming amendments to the instructions on the form. The Conference
adopted the Committee’s recommendations, amending Form AO 12 to—
a.

Add a separate column that allows district courts to compare census
demographics with their jury wheel race, gender, and ethnicity
demographics after respondents with unknown demographics are
removed; and

b.

Amend the instructions on the last two pages of the form as follows
(new language underlined; deletions struck through):
(1)

General. The information to be collected on the AO 12 form
is for the use of the district courts to aid them in
(1) determining whether their jury wheels comply with the
randomness and nondiscrimination provisions of the Jury
Selection and Service Act, and (2) comparing statistical
samplings of jury wheels against general citizen population
data.

(2)

Part II
[...]
To compute the percentage figures, divide each
race/ethnicity/sex distribution figure in subpart (9) by
the total number of forms in the sample. Courts using
the judiciary’s automated juror management system
should use the system’s JS-12 reporting function to
provide the race/ethnicity/sex distribution for all
completed qualification forms called for in subpart (9).

(3)

Part III
[...]
If the number of the names in the qualified wheel is larger than
the “minimum sample size” and you choose to draw a sample
of less than the full wheel, the sample should be drawn using
the same procedure as you would use to draw that many names
for assignment to jury panels (as directed by 28 U.S.C.
§1866(A)). Courts using the judiciary’s automated jury
management system should use the system’s JS-12 reporting
function to provide the race/ethnicity/sex distribution for all
qualified jurors called for in subpart (3).

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(4)

September 16, 2014

Part IV
[...]
To assist you with these comparisons, the Administrative
Office will provide specially programmed Census Bureau
information that shows racial, ethnic, and sex data and
percentages for the citizen population by county for every
federal jury division of your district. You may also provide a
demographic breakdown of jury wheel data of respondents with
unknown demographic data removed in order to provide a
more accurate comparison of the known demographic
breakdown of jury wheel data with citizen population data.

COMMITTEE ACTIVITIES
The Committee on Court Administration and Case Management
reported that it is developing, in collaboration with the Defender Services and
Criminal Law Committees, a set of recommendations for review by the
Judicial Conference aimed at protecting cooperation information in criminal
case filings. As a preliminary step, the Committee agreed to notify the courts
of the dangers of including the names of cooperators in orders and opinions.
Along with the Committees on the Judicial Branch and Codes of Conduct, this
Committee also approved guidelines for federal courts’ official use of social
media. In addition, it discussed the status of the Next Generation of CM/ECF
and reiterated its view that, because the new system will greatly assist judges
in managing their cases and caseloads, as well as promote public access,
development of the system should continue to be a funding priority.

COMMITTEE ON CRIMINAL LAW
SENTENCING REFORM LEGISLATION
Several bills pending in the 113th Congress address sentencing reform;
some would affect the imposition of sentences at the time of sentencing and
others would create mechanisms for early release after a period of confinement.
The proposed Recidivism Reduction and Public Safety Act of 2013, S. 1675,
113th Congress (as amended and passed by the Senate Committee on the
Judiciary, March 6, 2014), falls into the latter category. It would authorize
judges to allow inmates, in certain circumstances, to serve a portion of their
sentence on home confinement or community supervision. The inmates would
remain in Bureau of Prisons custody, but would be under the supervision of
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September 16, 2014

probation and pretrial services officers. The Criminal Law Committee noted
that such decisions are in the nature of parole and more appropriately made by
the executive branch, which has direct contact with the inmates and the most
accurate and up-to-date information about their conduct and condition. The
Committee also expressed concern that the legislation could erode determinate
sentencing and otherwise undermine the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984. It
therefore recommended that the Judicial Conference oppose those portions of
S. 1675, 113th Congress (as amended and passed by the Senate Committee on
the Judiciary, March 6, 2014), or similar legislation that would require Article
III judges to exercise powers that traditionally have been exercised by parole
officials in the executive branch in deciding whether an inmate may be allowed
to serve a portion of his or her prison sentence in the community. The
Conference adopted the Committee’s recommendation.

COMMITTEE ACTIVITIES
The Committee on Criminal Law reported that it discussed whether to
support the retroactive application of the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s
proposed amendment to the drug quantity table in the Sentencing Guidelines
Manual. After significant and careful evaluation, the Committee voted to
support making the proposed amendment retroactive, but only if (1) the courts
are authorized to begin accepting and granting petitions on November 1, 2014,
(2) any inmate who is granted a sentence reduction will not be eligible for
release until at least May 1, 2015, and (3) the Commission helps coordinate a
national training program that facilitates the development of procedures that
conserve scarce resources and promote public safety. The recommendation to
delay inmates’ releases was designed to facilitate the effective reentry of the
thousands of inmates who could be released early. The Sentencing
Commission voted to make the amendment retroactive, effective on November
1, 2014, and delay the release of any inmate whose sentence is reduced as a
result of the amendment until November 1, 2015.

COMMITTEE ON DEFENDER SERVICES
COMMITTEE ACTIVITIES
The Committee on Defender Services reported that it met with Deputy
Attorney General James Cole to discuss Department of Justice policies
and practices that have a significant impact on Defender Services program
costs (e.g., discovery issues, the Death Penalty Authorization Protocol,
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September 16, 2014

sentencing reform, new charging policies, and efforts to make electronic
discovery accessible to pre-trial detainees). The Committee recommended to
the Budget Committee that the judiciary’s budget request to Congress include a
raise in the non-capital hourly panel attorney rate to the statutory maximum,
estimated to be $144 per hour, effective on January 1, 2016, to ensure the
availability of qualified counsel to provide effective representation of CJA
defendants. But see “Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Request, supra, p. 8.” During
its discussion of Defender Services program long-range planning, the
Committee determined that a comprehensive, impartial review of the CJA
program should be performed, consistent with Judicial Conference policy. See
JCUS-MAR 93, p. 28.

COMMITTEE ON FEDERAL-STATE JURISDICTION
COMMITTEE ACTIVITIES
The Committee on Federal-State Jurisdiction reported that it continued
its review of immigration reform legislation introduced in the House of
Representatives, focusing its attention on the points where administrative
decisions likely would come to the federal courts for judicial review, as well as
provisions that would limit or preclude judicial review. The Committee also
discussed House-passed legislation that would make substantial changes to the
Administrative Procedure Act, including provisions that would affect judicial
review of the administrative rulemaking process. In addition, the Committee
considered proposed legislation that would authorize one or both chambers of
Congress to initiate a civil action against the President (or other executive
branch officials) for an alleged failure to faithfully execute federal laws in
violation of the “Take Care” clause of the Constitution.

COMMITTEE ON FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE
COMMITTEE ACTIVITIES
The Committee on Financial Disclosure reported that an upgrade was
approved for the current versions of the financial disclosure report preparation
software and filing systems. Even after this upgrade, these systems have
limitations; thus, the Committee authorized a comprehensive assessment of
future needs and alternatives that would explore a wide range of options. The
Committee also approved two initiatives designed to clarify and simplify its
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guidance and provide better assistance to filers preparing their financial
disclosure reports and to the Committee and its staff in reviewing and
processing reports. As of June 20, 2014, the Committee had received 3,742
financial disclosure reports and certifications for calendar year 2013 (out of a
total of 4,313 required to be filed), which included nomination, initial, annual
and final report filings. For annual reports filed for calendar year 2013, the
Committee had received 1,122 reports from Supreme Court justices and Article
III judges; 306 reports from bankruptcy judges; 478 reports from magistrate
judges; and 1,618 reports from judicial employees.

COMMITTEE ON INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
LONG RANGE PLAN FOR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 612 and on recommendation of the Committee
on Information Technology, the Judicial Conference approved the fiscal year
2015 update to the Long Range Plan for Information Technology in the
Federal Judiciary. Funds for the judiciary’s information technology program
will be spent in accordance with this plan.

COMMITTEE ACTIVITIES
The Committee on Information Technology reported that it
recommended that additional funding be sought in FY 2016 and beyond to
meet current court demand for expanded national centralized hosting services
while additional study is undertaken on alternatives. It also endorsed
expansion of two security policies to include publicly accessible electronic case
management (ECF) servers: the first ensures use of host-based intrusion
prevention systems software, and the second ensures privileged scans for
vulnerabilities. While declining to authorize fingerprint authentication for
virtual private network-on-demand access to the judiciary’s data
communication network, the Committee approved such authentication for
nationally supported Lotus Notes email, calendaring, and contacts applications
at the court unit’s/federal defender organization’s discretion.

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COMMITTEE ON INTERCIRCUIT ASSIGNMENTS
COMMITTEE ACTIVITIES
The Committee on Intercircuit Assignments reported that 94 intercircuit
assignments were undertaken by 73 Article III judges from January 1, 2014, to
June 30, 2014. The Committee also reviewed and concurred with two
proposed intercircuit assignments of magistrate judges and two proposed
intercircuit assignments of bankruptcy judges. During this time, the Committee
continued to disseminate to chief district judges information about intercircuit
assignments and aid courts requesting assistance by identifying and obtaining
judges willing to take assignments.

COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL JUDICIAL RELATIONS
COMMITTEE ACTIVITIES
The Committee on International Judicial Relations reported on its
involvement in rule of law and judicial reform activities throughout the world,
highlighting efforts in Africa, Europe and Eurasia, Latin America and the
Caribbean, the Middle East, and South and Central Asia. The Committee
received reports on the rule of law activities from the Department of Justice,
United States Agency for International Development, United States Patent and
Trademark Office, United States Institute of Peace, Open World Program,
Federal Judicial Center, Administrative Office, International Association of
Court Administrators, and World Justice Project. The Committee also reported
on briefings at the Administrative Office for foreign delegations of jurists and
judicial personnel.

COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIAL BRANCH
MEETING AND CONFERENCE PLANNING LEGISLATION
The proposed Government Spending Accountability Act of 2013,
H.R. 313, 113th Congress, and a companion bill in the Senate, S. 1347, contain
a variety of substantive and financial disclosure provisions intended to
establish transparency and financial accountability regarding government
conferences. The Committee on the Judicial Branch reported that some of
these provisions create concerns for the judiciary, including substantive
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September 16, 2014

disclosure provisions that would require certain written conference materials to
be made available to the public that may reflect sensitive or confidential,
predecisional information and financial disclosure requirements that are unduly
burdensome. The Committee also noted potential security concerns that arise if
the judiciary does not have discretion to determine whether certain information
should be made public. For these reasons, the Committee asked the Judicial
Conference to recommend to Congress that the judiciary be exempted from
coverage in H.R. 313 and S. 1347, and any similar legislation, with the
understanding that the Conference would direct the Administrative Office
Director to exercise existing statutory and other authority to promulgate
regulations that would meet the general goals of such legislation, if enacted.
This would allow the judiciary to provide greater transparency about its
operations and self-governance, while recognizing its different governance
practices and constitutional role. The Conference adopted the Committee’s
recommendation.

COMMITTEE ACTIVITIES
The Committee on the Judicial Branch reported that it began a new
initiative, the Judicial-Congressional Dialogue, with the goal of increasing
understanding between the legislative and judicial branches. The first event
was held in May 2014 with a panel featuring Supreme Court Associate Justices
Stephen Breyer and Samuel Alito, as well as House Judiciary Committee
Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI).
Ten members of the House Judiciary Committee and all members of the
Judicial Branch Committee attended. The Committee also established a new
civic engagement subcommittee that worked with the FJC to survey courts
about the types of civic education projects courts engage in at the institutional
and individual level. The results of the survey will be used to enhance the JNet
Educational Outreach Resource page with links to information and materials
developed by courts and will assist courts in sharing ideas, knowledge, and
materials about civic education programs.

COMMITTEE ON JUDICIAL CONDUCT AND DISABILITY
COMMITTEE ACTIVITIES
The Committee on Judicial Conduct and Disability reported that it
discussed complaint-related matters in which the guidance of its chair and staff
had been sought. It also discussed a revised draft of possible changes to the
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September 16, 2014

Judicial Conference’s Rules for Judicial-Conduct and Judicial-Disability
Proceedings (2008).

COMMITTEE ON JUDICIAL RESOURCES
ADDITIONAL ARTICLE III JUDGESHIPS
Recognizing that Congress has not passed comprehensive Article III
judgeship legislation since 1990, and that courts require an appropriate number
of Article III judges to handle their workloads, in March 2011, the Judicial
Conference authorized the Director of the Administrative Office, subject to the
approval of the Executive Committee, to pursue separate legislation for
Conference-approved additional judgeships for district courts that have 700 or
more weighted filings per authorized judgeship, averaged over a three-year
period, and that are utilizing all available judicial resources (JCUS-MAR 11,
p. 22). At this session, in order to give the Director greater flexibility in
pursuing judgeships, the Committee on Judicial Resources recommended that
the Conference further prioritize judgeship requests based on additional 100point increments in weighted filings per judgeship. The Conference agreed and
amended its March 2011 position on prioritization of recommendations for
additional judgeships for district courts to read as follows (deletions struck
through, new language underlined) –
[T]he Director [of the Administrative Office], subject to the
approval of the Executive Committee, may (a) pursue separate
legislation for Conference-approved additional judgeships for
district courts that have 700 or more weighted filings per
authorized judgeship, averaged over a three-year period, and
that are utilizing all available judicial resources and procedures;
and (b) depending on the amount of available funding for new
judgeships, pursue separate legislation for any or all
Conference-approved judgeships for district courts that have
either 500 or more or 600 or more weighted filings per
authorized judgeship, averaged over a three-year period, and
that are using all available judicial resources and procedures;
and (c) provide to Congress a list of the district courts
recommended by the Conference for additional judgeships, in
order of weighted filings per judgeship.

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September 16, 2014

STAFFING FORMULAS
Court of Appeals and Circuit Offices. In accordance with its schedule
for updating staffing formulas every five years, the Committee on Judicial
Resources considered updates to the formulas for all court of appeals and
circuit offices, including the offices of court of appeals clerks, staff attorneys,
circuit executives, circuit mediators, circuit librarians, and bankruptcy appellate
panel clerks. After extensive data collection and input from the courts, the
Committee recommended, and the Judicial Conference approved—
a.

New staffing formulas for court of appeals and circuit offices to be
applied starting in fiscal year 2015, which provide a total of 1,955.6
full-time equivalents (FTEs), based on statistical year 2013 workload;

b.

The use of three-year averages for case filings when implementing the
new staffing formulas for the offices of bankruptcy appellate panel
clerks, courts of appeals clerks, and staff attorneys; and single-year
totals for the offices of circuit executives, circuit librarians, and circuit
mediators; and

c.

The use of additional staffing formula factors for:
(1)

13.3 additional FTE staff attorney positions in the Eleventh
Circuit’s Office of Staff Attorneys;

(2)

3.5 additional FTEs in the Third Circuit’s Office of the Circuit
Executive for two years;

(3)

8.6 additional FTEs in the Second Circuit’s Office of the Court
of Appeals Clerk; and

(4)

12 additional FTEs for a circuit information technology security
officer position in each of the circuit executive offices.

Bankruptcy Administrator Offices. As part of the scheduled five-year
updates of staffing formulas, the Committee considered proposed revisions to
the staffing formula for bankruptcy administrator offices. On recommendation
of the Committee, the Conference approved a new staffing formula for
bankruptcy administrator offices to be applied starting in fiscal year 2015,
which provides 55 FTEs, based on statistical year 2013 workload. The
Conference also adopted the Committee’s recommendation that two-year
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September 16, 2014

weighted caseload averages, rather than single-year values, should be used for
staffing formula calculations—with a 60 percent weight given to the most
recent statistical year data, and a 40 percent weight given for the statistical year
preceding the most recent statistical year.
Naturalization Ceremonies. In September 2013, the Judicial
Conference approved a new staffing formula for district clerks’ offices that
includes a constant value of .23 FTE staff for each district clerk’s office for
naturalization ceremonies (JCUS-SEP 13, p. 25) . While this allocation is
sufficient for districts performing naturalization ceremonies within a
reasonable range of the average number of ceremonies (29), or the average
number of oaths (4,089), several districts sustain workload well beyond the
reasonable range. To accommodate this additional workload, the Committee
recommended that the Conference allocate 8.33 FTE staff in fiscal year 2015 to
the following seven districts to support naturalization ceremonies: New York
(Eastern), Texas (Southern), Michigan (Eastern), Ohio (Southern), Arizona,
California (Central), and Nevada. It also recommended that the Conference ask
the Administrative Office to recompute annually the required staffing to
support naturalization ceremonies until implementation of the next staffing
formula update for district clerks’ offices. The Conference adopted the
Committee’s recommendations.

COURT INTERPRETER
The Committee on Judicial Resources recommended, and the Judicial
Conference approved, one full-time equivalent position for a Spanish staff
court interpreter for the District of Puerto Rico, beginning in fiscal year 2016,
based on the Spanish language interpreting workload in that court.

VOLUNTEER SERVICES IN THE COURTS
Citing an increasing number of volunteers serving in judges’ chambers
and the implications of such volunteer service for the judiciary’s human
resources policies, the Executive Committee asked the Judicial Resources
Committee, in consultation with other relevant committees, to consider and
take appropriate action (including policy recommendations to the Judicial
Conference) on the subject of unpaid law clerks in the federal courts. The
Committee expanded the scope of inquiry beyond volunteers in chambers to
include unpaid staff in courts and federal defender organizations (FDOs).
Taking into consideration guidance provided by the AO General Counsel, and
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September 16, 2014

input from several committees, the Committee recommended the policy set
forth below regarding volunteer services in courts. Because of the unique role
volunteers play in FDOs, the Committee determined not to include those
offices in the recommended policy and to consider them separately at a later
date.
a.

A volunteer arrangement must focus, either exclusively or primarily, on
providing an educational experience for the volunteer. Any functions
for which specific statutory authority exists to accept volunteer services
(e.g., volunteer probation officers under 18 U.S.C. § 3602(a) or
individuals appointed to preside over proceedings under Federal Rule of
Appellate Procedure 33) are excluded from this educational experience
requirement. Formal pro bono programs in courts of appeals and
district courts are also excluded.

b.

A volunteer may provide no more than 2,080 hours of voluntary service
to the courts. Any functions for which specific statutory authority
exists to accept volunteer services (e.g., volunteer probation officers
under 18 U.S.C. § 3602(a) or individuals appointed to preside over
proceedings under Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 33) are
excluded from this time limitation.

c.

Courts may not accept volunteer services from individuals related to
judges or a public official of the court, consistent with the limitation on
the employment of certain relatives of a judge in 28 U.S.C. § 458(a)(1)
and the limitation on the employment of certain relatives of a public
official in 5 U.S.C. § 3110(a)-(c), to avoid possible perceptions of
favoritism.

d.

Existing conflict of interest rules and other related ethics guidance
apply to volunteers and courts when accepting services from volunteers.

e.

For chambers volunteers, in addition to the policies provided above:
(1)

Duty titles may not include any derivation of the term “law
clerk.”

(2)

Time served by a law school graduate as a chambers volunteer
may be creditable legal work experience for grade determining

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September 16, 2014

purposes, but such service is not creditable as chambers law
clerk experience.
The Judicial Conference adopted the Committee’s recommendations.

COMMITTEE ACTIVITIES
The Committee on Judicial Resources reported that it approved a
recommendation from its Subcommittee on Judicial Statistics that the
Committee refrain from recommending new temporary judgeships in the 2015
Biennial Survey of Judgeship Needs and submit recommendations to the
Judicial Conference only for the creation of new permanent judgeships and the
conversion to permanent status or extension of existing temporary judgeships.
The Committee agreed to form a subcommittee and ask members from other
Judicial Conference committees to serve as liaisons to examine the grade levels
of court unit executives other than circuit executives and federal public
defenders, and to include in the study an earlier request regarding the grades of
clerks of the courts of appeals. The Committee decided to hold in abeyance
until its December 2014 meeting the request of the Administrative Office’s
Bankruptcy Clerks Advisory Group to reconsider the implementation of the
fiscal year 2016 staffing reduction (162.1 full-time equivalent staff) for
presumed shared administrative services in bankruptcy clerks’ offices that was
approved by the Judicial Conference in September 2012 (JCUS-SEP 12, pp.
22-23).

COMMITTEE ON JUDICIAL SECURITY
COMMITTEE ACTIVITIES
The Committee on Judicial Security reported that it discussed with the
U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) leadership the Home Intrusion Detection
Systems (HIDS) program, which is solely funded by the USMS’s appropriation
and provides judges with a basic home alarm system. The USMS will
re-compete the HIDS contract in late fiscal year 2015, and has asked the
Committee to provide input about judges’ views on that program. As of June
2014, 1,666 judges participate in the HIDS program.

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September 16, 2014

COMMITTEE ON THE ADMINISTRATION
OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGES SYSTEM
APPOINTMENT AND REAPPOINTMENT REGULATIONS
The Committee on the Administration of the Magistrate Judges System
considered amendments to the Regulations of the Judicial Conference of the
United States Establishing Standards and Procedures for the Appointment and
Reappointment of United States Magistrate Judges to clarify the minimum
qualifications for appointment as a magistrate judge. On recommendation of
the Committee, the Conference agreed to amend the regulations (a) to make
clear under section 420.10.10(b)(4) that “no more than two years” of law clerk,
staff attorney, or pro se law clerk experience in a court may be counted toward
the five-year requirement of the active practice of law; and (b) to specify that
under section 420.10.10(b)(5) “other legal experience” be “substantial,” that it
have been performed after receipt of a law degree or license to practice law,
and that the categories of experience considered in subparts (1) through (4) of
section 420.10.10(b) not be considered as legal experience under section
420.10.10(b)(5).

CHANGES IN MAGISTRATE JUDGE POSITIONS
After considering the report of the Committee on the Administration of
the Magistrate Judges System and the recommendations of the Administrative
Office, the district courts, and the judicial councils of the circuits, the Judicial
Conference agreed to—
EIGHTH CIRCUIT
District of North Dakota
Discontinue the part-time magistrate judge position at Grand Forks
upon the filling of the full-time magistrate judge position vacancy at
Fargo;

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September 16, 2014

NINTH CIRCUIT
Northern District of California
Authorize an additional full-time magistrate judge position at San Jose
or San Francisco;
Western District of Washington
Authorize an additional full-time magistrate judge position at Seattle or
Tacoma and discontinue the part-time magistrate judge position at
Vancouver upon the filling of the newly authorized full-time magistrate
judge position;
TENTH CIRCUIT
District of Wyoming
Increase the salary of the full-time magistrate judge position at
Yellowstone National Park from 55 percent of the maximum salary of a
full-time magistrate judge position ($100,745 per annum) to 80 percent
of the maximum salary of a full-time magistrate judge position
($146,538 per annum), and discontinue the part-time magistrate judge
position at Jackson; and
ELEVENTH CIRCUIT
Middle District of Florida
Authorize an additional full-time magistrate judge position at Tampa.

ACCELERATED FUNDING
On recommendation of the Committee, the Conference agreed to
designate for accelerated funding, effective April 1, 2015, the new full-time
magistrate judge positions at San Jose or San Francisco in the Northern District
of California, at Seattle or Tacoma in the Western District of Washington, and
at Tampa in the Middle District of Florida.

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September 16, 2014

COMMITTEE ACTIVITIES
The Committee reported that after full consideration of district-wide
survey reports prepared by the Administrative Office, it determined not to
recommend any changes in the number of authorized magistrate judge
positions in nine district courts. Pursuant to Judicial Conference policy
regarding the review of magistrate judge position vacancies (JCUS-SEP 04,
p. 26), for the period between its December 2013 and June 2014 meetings, the
Committee approved, through its chair, filling 19 magistrate judge position
vacancies. At its June 2014 meeting, the full Committee considered and
approved requests from five courts to fill six magistrate judge position
vacancies. The Committee also considered and approved requests to extend
the recall of nine retired magistrate judges, in one instance voting to approve
staff for only as long as the court maintains a magistrate judge position
vacancy.

COMMITTEE ON RULES OF PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE
FEDERAL RULES OF BANKRUPTCY PROCEDURE
The Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure submitted to the
Judicial Conference proposed revisions of Official Bankruptcy Forms 3A
(Application for Individuals to Pay the Filing Fee in Installments), 3B
(Application to Have the Chapter 7 Filing Fee Waived), 6 Summary (Summary
of Schedules), 17 (to become 17A) (Notice of Appeal), 22A (to become 22A-1,
22A-1Supp, and 22A-2) (Statement of Current Monthly Income and MeansTest Calculation), 22B (Chapter 11 Statement of Current Monthly Income), and
22C (to become 22C-1 and 22C-2) (Chapter 13 Statement of Current Monthly
Income and Calculation of Commitment Period and Disposable Income), and
proposed new Official Bankruptcy Forms 17B (Optional Appellee Statement of
Election to Proceed in District Court) and 17C (Certificate of Compliance With
Rule 8015(a)(7)(B) or 8016(d)(2)), together with Committee Notes explaining
the purpose and intent of the proposed changes. The Judicial Conference
approved the new and revised forms to take effect on December 1, 2014.

FEDERAL RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE
The Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure submitted to the
Judicial Conference proposed amendments to Civil Rules 1 (Scope and
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September 16, 2014

Purpose), 4 (Summons), 16 (Pretrial Conferences; Scheduling; Management),
26 (Duty to Disclose; General Provisions; Governing Discovery), 30
(Depositions by Oral Examination), 31 (Depositions by Written Questions), 33
(Interrogatories to Parties), 34 (Producing Documents, Electronically Stored
Information, and Tangible Things, or Entering onto Land, for Inspection and
Other Purposes), 37 (Failure to Make Disclosures or to Cooperate in
Discovery; Sanctions), and 55 (Default; Default Judgment), and a proposed
abrogation of Civil Rule 84 (Forms) and the Appendix of Forms, together with
Committee Notes explaining the purpose and intent of the proposals. The
Conference approved the proposed changes and agreed to transmit them to the
Supreme Court for consideration with a recommendation that they be adopted
by the Court and transmitted to Congress in accordance with the law.

COMMITTEE ACTIVITIES
The Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure reported that it
approved publication for public comment of proposed amendments to
Appellate Rules 4, 5, 21, 25, 26, 27, 28.1, 29, 32, 35, and 40, and Forms 1, 5,
and 6, as well as proposed new Form 7; proposed amendments to Bankruptcy
Rules 1010, 1011, 2002, 3002, 3002.1, 3007, 3012, 3015, 4003, 5009, 7001,
9006, 9009, and proposed new Rule 1012, and proposed amendments to
Official Forms 11A (to be abrogated), 11B (to be abrogated), 106J, 201, 202,
204, 205, 206Sum, 206A/B, 206D, 206E/F, 206G, 206H, 207, 309A, 309B,
309C, 309D, 309E, 309F, 309G, 309H, 309I, 312, 313, 314, 315, 401, 410,
410A, 410S1, 410S2, 416A, 416B, 416D, 424, and Instructions, and proposed
new Official Forms 106J-2 and 113; proposed amendments to Civil Rules 4, 6,
and 82; and proposed amendments to Criminal Rules 4, 41, and 45. The
proposed rules and forms were published on August 15, 2014, and the
comment period closes at midnight on February 17, 2015.

COMMITTEE ON SPACE AND FACILITIES
COMPONENT B PROJECTS
In September 2007, the Judicial Conference adopted a circuit rent
budget allotment methodology that divides the judiciary’s rent bill into three
components (JCUS-SEP 07, pp. 36-37). “Component B” of the rent bill funds
newly constructed courthouses or annexes and prospectus-level repair and
alteration projects, as well as necessary chambers and courtrooms for judges
taking senior status, replacement judges, and new judgeships. Although
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September 16, 2014

chambers and courtroom requests generally require only Committee approval,
two such requests submitted in 2014—one for a chambers in Baltimore,
Maryland and one for a chambers and courtroom in Winston-Salem, North
Carolina—exceed U.S. Courts Design Guide standards with regard to usable
square feet, and thus also require Judicial Conference approval. The
Committee reported that the two projects exceed the designated square footage
due to the existing configuration of the space that is to be occupied, and that it
would be impractical to reduce the space to Design Guide standards. On
recommendation of the Committee, the Judicial Conference approved the
Component B requests for Baltimore, Maryland and Winston-Salem, North
Carolina.

NO NET NEW POLICY
In September 2013, as part of an effort to reduce the judiciary’s space
footprint, the Judicial Conference adopted a No Net New policy that provides
that any increase in square footage within a circuit needs to be offset by an
equivalent reduction in the square footage within the same year (JCUS-SEP 13,
p. 32). After receiving feedback from the courts indicating that it was difficult
to ensure that the acquisition and release of space occurred in the same year
because of the many variables outside of the courts’ control (e.g. construction
schedules, and timing of General Services Administration (GSA) acceptance of
the returned space), the Committee recommended that the policy be amended
to provide that the offset in square footage must be identified but not
necessarily released within the same fiscal year. The Conference adopted the
Committee’s recommendation.

SPACE RELEASE ALLOTMENT PROGRAM
In September 2012, as an incentive for courts to release space, the
Judicial Conference amended the circuit rent budget business rules to provide
an allotment of one year’s rental savings directly to a court that releases space,
to be available for use within two years, at the discretion of the chief judge of
the relevant court (JCUS- SEP 12, p. 32). Due to the limited amount of
funding for space release allotments, the popularity of the program, and
concern that large projects could absorb all of the funding, the Committee
recommended that the Judicial Conference approve a process for distribution of
space release allotments whereby, if there are insufficient funds, the AO will
distribute allotments over $100,000 on a phased basis and the Committee will

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September 16, 2014

address requests for allotments in excess of $1 million on a case-by-case basis.
The Conference approved the Committee’s recommendation.

ALTERNATIVE WORKPLACE STRATEGIES
The judiciary undertook the Integrated Workplace Initiative (IWI) in
2011 to identify innovative management, technology and space planning
techniques that are compatible with court operations. The goal was to optimize
space utilization and thereby reduce rental costs. Based on the study phase of
IWI, including surveys of over 3000 employees from 25 district and circuit
courts and proof of concept studies for a variety of court projects, the
Committee developed alternative workplace strategies that focus on the space
planning and standards component of IWI. The Committee recommended, and
the Judicial Conference approved, an alternative workplace strategies chapter
to be included in the U.S. Courts Design Guide. The strategies described in the
Design Guide chapter identify key components of an efficiently designed office
environment that supports mobile work, encourages collaboration, and is
compatible with modern technology.

CLOSURE OF NON-RESIDENT FACILITIES
The Judicial Conference considers non-resident court facilities for
closure based on criteria established in 2006 (JCUS-MAR 06, p. 28), and upon
the recommendation of the appropriate circuit judicial council (28 U.S.C.
§ 462(b)(f)). After receiving notice that the Eighth Circuit Judicial Council had
approved ceasing district court operations in the federal building in North
Platte, Nebraska, the Committee recommended, and the Conference approved,
the closure of that facility.

FIVE-YEAR COURTHOUSE PROJECT PLAN
On recommendation of the Committee, the Judicial Conference
approved a Five-Year Courthouse Project Plan for FYs 2016-2020. All
projects on this Five-Year Plan were evaluated using the asset management
planning (AMP) process approved by the Judicial Conference in 2008 (JCUSSEP 08, p. 26) and were ranked based on their AMP urgency evaluation (UE)
score. All projects, except for the project in Nashville, Tennessee, are listed on
the Five-Year Plan in priority order based on their UE score. The Nashville
project retains its position on the Plan as the judiciary’s highest priority, even
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September 16, 2014

though it does not have the highest urgency score, because of the substantial
investment that has already been made in that project and the substantial
progress that has been made on design, site acquisition, and site preparation.

COMMITTEE ACTIVITIES
The Committee on Space and Facilities reported that it was updated on
the status of the Committee’s GSA Service Validation initiative, which focuses
on improving delivery of services that the judiciary receives from GSA in the
following areas: 1) appraisal methodology/return on investment pricing
practice; 2) overtime utility estimating and energy savings sharing; 3) space
assignment, classification and billing validation; and 4) project management:
scope, development, and estimating. The Committee also reported that the
Government Accountability Office, at the request of the House Committee on
the Judiciary, was engaged to conduct a study regarding Recovery and
Reinvestment Act funding to construct and repair federal courthouses or
convert them to green buildings; the study is expected to be completed in the
fall of 2014.

FUNDING
All of the foregoing recommendations that require the expenditure of
funds for implementation were approved by the Judicial Conference subject to
the availability of funds and to whatever priorities the Conference might
establish for the use of available resources.

Chief Justice of the United States
Presiding

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