Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building
|Formed||December 20, 1967|
|Jurisdiction||United States Judiciary|
|Headquarters|| Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building |
|Annual budget||$27 million (2016)|
|Parent agency||Judicial Conference of the United States|
The Federal Judicial Center is the education and research agency of the United States federal courts. It was established by Pub.L. 90–219 in 1967, at the recommendation of the Judicial Conference of the United States.
According to 28 U.S.C. § 620, the main areas of responsibility for the Center include: : p. 1
In addition to these major provisions, §620 (b)(4)(5)(6) sets forth the additional provisions that the FJC will (i) provide staff and assistance to the Judicial Conference and component bodies, (ii) coordinate programs and research on the administration of justice with the State Justice Institute, and (iii) cooperatively assist other government agencies in providing advice, and receiving advice, regarding judicial administration in foreign countries, in each of these cases, to the extent it is "consistent with the performance of the other functions set forth" earlier. : p. 1
The Code also states (§621) that the Chief Justice of the United States is the permanent Chair of the Center's board, and that it includes the director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts and seven federal judges elected by the Judicial Conference. : p. 2 The Board appoints the Center's director and deputy director; the director appoints the Center's staff. Since its founding in 1967, the Center has had eleven directors. The current director is John S. Cooke. The deputy director is Clara Altman.
The Federal Judicial Center was established by Congress on the recommendation of Chief Justice Earl Warren and other members of the judiciary who hoped that regular programs of research and education would improve the efficiency of the federal courts and help to relieve the backlog of cases in the lower courts. Governed by its own board, the Federal Judicial Center offered the courts the benefits of independent social science research and educational programs designed to improve judicial administration.
In the 1950s and early 1960s, the Judicial Conference and the Administrative Office increasingly commissioned research projects to examine problems of judicial administration and organized educational programs to help judges manage growing and complicated caseloads. These research and educational programs had no permanent staff or funding. Support for an institutionalized program of judicial research and education increased after the establishment of 60 new district judgeships in 1961 demonstrated that the number of judges alone would not solve all of the problems of overworked courts. A growing number of judges and members of the bar urged the judiciary to establish a formal means to bring improved research and education to the courts.
At the suggestion of Chief Justice Warren, the Judicial Conference in 1966 authorized a committee to examine the research and education requirements of the judiciary. Former Justice Stanley Reed agreed to Warren’s request to chair the committee. As the Reed committee formulated its recommendation for establishment of a Federal Judicial Center, President Johnson, at Warren’s request, included the proposal in his highly publicized message on crime in February 1967. The Judicial Committee adopted the recommendation. Bills to create the Center were soon submitted in both houses of Congress. With broad support for the concept of a research and education center for the judiciary, discussion in the House and Senate hearings centered on questions about the proper institutional form and leadership for the Center.
The Reed Committee and the director of the Administrative Office, among others, advocated an independent agency with its own governing board to which the Center director would report. The goal was to protect the research and education resources from being absorbed into strictly administrative duties and to insure the objectivity of research. The Federal Judicial Center’s board consists of the Chief Justice, a rotating group of judges selected by the Judicial Conference, and the director of the Administrative Office; no member of the Judicial Conference was to serve on the Center’s board. The statute authorizes the Center to conduct and support research on the operation of the courts, to offer education and training for judges and court personnel, and to assist and advise the Judicial Conference on matters related to the administration and management of the courts. Later legislation expanded the Center’s mandate to include programs related to the history of the federal judiciary.
A. Leo Levin was the Director of the Federal Judicial Center from 1977 to 1987.
The Center includes several offices and divisions.
The Director's Office is responsible for the Center's overall management and its relations with other organizations. Its Office of Systems Innovation and Development (OSID) provides technical support for Center education and research. Communications Policy and Design (CPD) edits, produces, and distributes all Center print and electronic publications, operates the Federal Judicial Television Network, and through the Information Services Office maintains a specialized library collection of materials on judicial administration.
The Research Division undertakes empirical and exploratory research on federal judicial processes, judicial resources, court administration and case management, federal-state jurisdiction and cooperation, and sentencing and its consequences, often at the request of the Judicial Conference and its committees, the courts themselves, or other groups in the federal system. Elizabeth Wiggins is the current director of the research division. She is the third research division director in the history of the Federal Judicial Center.
The Federal Judicial History Office develops programs relating to the history of the judicial branch and assists courts with their own judicial history program.
The Education Division plans and organizes educational sessions for federal judges and court staff.
The International Judicial Relations Office carries out the Center's statutory mission to provide information about federal courts to officials of foreign judicial systems and to acquire information about foreign judicial systems that will help the Center perform its other missions. The office administers the Center's International Visitor briefing program and the Visiting Foreign Judicial Fellows Program.
As of February 2021 the Center's board consists of:
A nonprofit organization, the Federal Judicial Center Foundation, solicits support for the Center.
The chief justice of the United States is the chief judge of the Supreme Court of the United States and the highest-ranking officer of the U.S. federal judiciary. Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution grants plenary power to the president of the United States to nominate, and with the advice and consent of the United States Senate, appoint "Judges of the supreme Court", who serve until they resign, retire, are impeached and convicted, or die. The existence of a chief justice is explicit in Article One, Section 3, Clause 6 which states that the chief justice shall preside on the impeachment trial of the president.
In the United States, the title of federal judge means a judge nominated by the president of the United States and confirmed by the United States Senate pursuant to the Appointments Clause in Article II of the United States Constitution.
An administrative law judge (ALJ) in the United States is a judge and trier of fact who both presides over trials and adjudicates claims or disputes involving administrative law.
The federal judiciary of the United States is one of the three branches of the federal government of the United States organized under the United States Constitution and laws of the federal government. Article III of the Constitution requires the establishment of a Supreme Court and permits the Congress to create other federal courts and place limitations on their jurisdiction. Article III states that federal judges are appointed by the president with the consent of the Senate to serve until they resign, are impeached and convicted, or die.
John Mercer Walker Jr. is a Senior United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He served as Chief Judge from September 30, 2000, to September 30, 2006, when he assumed senior status. He was a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, appointed in 1985 by President Ronald Reagan before being elevated to the Second Circuit in 1989.
Title 28 is the portion of the United States Code that governs the federal judicial system.
The U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services System, also called the Office of Probation and Pretrial Services, part of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, is the probation office of the federal judiciary of the United States. It serves the United States district courts in all 94 federal judicial districts nationwide and constitutes the community corrections arm of the Federal Judiciary. It administers probation and supervised release under United States federal law enforced by probation officers.
The Administrative Office of the United States Courts (AO) is the administrative agency of the United States federal court system, established in 1939. The central support entity for the federal judicial branch, the AO provides a wide range of administrative, legal, financial, management, program, and information technology services to the federal courts.
Robert Allen Katzmann was a Senior United States circuit judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He served as chief judge from September 1, 2013 to August 31, 2020.
Paul James Barbadoro is a Senior United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire. In July 2016, he was appointed by Chief Justice Roberts as the chair of the Executive Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States.
Loren A. Smith is a Senior Judge of the United States Court of Federal Claims.
Ann Claire Williams is a retired United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and a former United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. She is currently Of Counsel at Jones Day, where she leads the law firm's efforts in advancing the rule of law in Africa, and to their leading trial and appellate practices.
Robert E. Cowen is a Senior United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit based in Philadelphia. He joined the court in 1987 after being nominated by President Ronald Reagan. Cowen has served in the federal judiciary since 1978.
David Brock Hornby is a Senior United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Maine.
Elton Joe Kendall is a former United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
Audrey Goldstein Fleissig is a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. She also is a former United States Attorney.
Robert Edwin Bacharach is a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.
Wilhelmina Marie Wright is a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota. She is the only jurist in Minnesota's history to be State District Court Judge, Appellate Court Judge and state Supreme Court justice. She was formerly an Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, a judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, and a Judge of the Minnesota District Court, Second Judicial District.
Gregory Howard Woods III is an American judge and lawyer. In 2013, he became a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Cheryl Ann Krause is a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.