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Federal Courthouses: Actions Needed to Enhance Capital Security Program and Improve Collaboration
GAO-17-215: Published: Feb 16, 2017. Publicly Released: Feb 16, 2017.
Three federal agencies—the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (AOUSC), the U.S. Marshals Service (Marshals Service), and the Federal Protective Service (FPS)—collect information about security concerns at federal courthouses related to the agencies' respective missions. However, only AOUSC develops information that can be used to understand security concerns across the courthouse portfol...
Federal Judiciary: Progress Made in Reducing Appellate Space, but Innovative Practices Should Be Shared across Courts
GAO-17-134: Published: Dec 14, 2016. Publicly Released: Dec 14, 2016.
Various judicial policies, such as those in the U.S. Courts Design Guide, help guide appellate space use decisions. Other key policies include the judiciary's national 3 percent space-reduction target and the No Net New policy, which requires regional judicial circuits—including each circuit's court of appeals—to offset space increases with equivalent reductions. In practice, space use decis...
Whistleblower Protection: Additional Actions Would Improve Recording and Reporting of Appeals Data
GAO-17-110: Published: Nov 28, 2016. Publicly Released: Nov 28, 2016.
Of the two types of whistleblower appeals—individual right of action (IRA) and otherwise appealable action (OAA)—Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) data show higher numbers of IRA appeals received by MSPB after enactment of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012 (WPEA). In an IRA appeal, an individual has been subject to a personnel action, such as a reassignment, and claims t...
U.S. Supreme Court: Policies and Perspectives on Video and Audio Coverage of Appellate Court Proceedings
GAO-16-437: Published: Apr 28, 2016. Publicly Released: May 31, 2016.
The U.S. Supreme Court (the Court) posts audio recordings of oral arguments on its website at the end of each argument week, but does not provide video coverage of these arguments. In addition, starting in 2000, the Court began granting requests for access to audio recordings of oral arguments on the same day arguments are heard in selected cases. As of October 4, 2015, the Court had received medi...
Federal Judiciary: Improvements Needed for Collecting Judges' Non-Case-Related Travel Information
GAO-16-70: Published: Dec 16, 2015. Publicly Released: Dec 16, 2015.
From fiscal years 2003 through 2014, judges have used a separate system to report their non-case-related (NCR) travel costs paid for by government and private sources. These NCR travel costs averaged $8.8 million per year. However, while the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (AOUSC) tracks the costs of all official travel in its accounting systems of record, the NCR system does not collect...
Federal Judiciary: Improved Cost Savings Estimates Could Help Better Assess Cost Containment Efforts
GAO-16-97: Published: Nov 10, 2015. Publicly Released: Nov 10, 2015.
The federal judiciary has implemented cost containment initiatives for over 10 years, but the judiciary does not fully know how much it has saved because it has not developed a reliable method for estimating cost savings achieved. For example, GAO found that the judiciary's estimate of cost savings primarily attributed to cost containment initiatives since fiscal year 2005—nearly $1.5 billion, r...
Federal Courthouses: Better Planning Needed Regarding Reuse of Old Courthouses
GAO-14-48: Published: Nov 7, 2013. Publicly Released: Dec 9, 2013.
Of the 66 old federal courthouses that GAO reviewed, the General Services Administration (GSA) retained 40, disposed of 25, and is in the process of disposing of another. Of the retained old courthouses, the judiciary occupies 30 of them, 25 as the main tenant, most commonly with the district and bankruptcy courts. When determining whether to retain and reuse or to dispose of old courthouses, GSA...
Information on Defective Drywall
GAO-13-735R: Published: Jul 31, 2013. Publicly Released: Jul 31, 2013.
GAO found that numerous claims for damage have been addressed through legal settlements partly paid by commercial insurance reimbursements. Three of the four insurers with whom GAO spoke contributed to legal settlements by paying for CGL claims stemming from lawsuits against their policyholders, and one of these insurers also made payments for CGL claims separate from legal settlements. The legal...
Federal Judiciary: Efforts to Consolidate and Share Services between District and Bankruptcy Clerks' Offices
GAO-13-531: Published: Jun 13, 2013. Publicly Released: Jun 13, 2013.
What GAO FoundFew federal judicial districts have consolidated their court clerks' offices; courts are sharing services among the clerks' offices, but the costs and benefits are unclear. Four of the 91 districts served by bankruptcy courts have consolidated the clerks' offices of the district and bankruptcy courts. Court officials in districts that are not considering consolidation told GAO that...
Federal Courthouses: Most Recommended New Construction Projects Do Not Qualify Under Improved Capital-Planning Process
GAO-13-523T: Published: Apr 17, 2013. Publicly Released: Apr 17, 2013.
The AMP process, which the judiciary has applied to about 67 percent of its courthouses, represents progress by the judiciary in aligning its capital-planning process with leading capital-planning practices, but the document the judiciary uses to request courthouse construction projects from Congress lacks transparency and key information. For example, the AMP process better aligns with leading pr...