The Federal Judiciary:

Observations on Selected Issues

GGD-95-236BR: Published: Sep 18, 1995. Publicly Released: Sep 18, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed federal judiciary operations, focusing on the: (1) appropriations, expenditures, and functions of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (AOUSC) and the Federal Judiciary Center (FJC); (2) costs of FJC training programs; (3) annual number and cost of Judicial Conference meetings; and (4) cost of any circuit task forces on gender or ethnic bias and the process used to select task force executives.

GAO found that: (1) AOUSC and FJC operations are funded by a combination of appropriations and offsetting collections; (2) total AOUSC budget authority rose from $68.4 million to $81.2 million between fiscal years (FY) 1992 and 1995, while total FJC budget authority declined from $19.2 million to $19 million during the same period; (3) appropriations counted for 65 percent of total AOUSC budget authority in FY 1992 and 58 percent in FY 1995, and 93 percent and 99 percent of total FJC budget authority in FY 1992 and FY 1995; (4) AOUSC and FJC obligations equaled their total funds available in each fiscal year; (5) there was little duplication of services between AOUSC and FJC; (6) FJC spent about $3 million to train district judges in FY 1994 and estimates it will spend about $6.2 million for training in FY 1995; (7) the cost of two Judicial Conference sessions and 59 committee meetings was about $1.07 million in 1994, although Conference committees normally meet only twice a year; (8) as of June 1995, 10 of the 12 regional circuits had established task forces on gender, racial, or ethnic bias and had spent about $562,000; and (9) 4 of the 5 task force executive directors were competitively selected from applicants who responded to an advertisement, while the fifth was appointed and will serve without pay.

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