Federal Judiciary:

Information on the Population and Case Filings Per Judgeship for U.S. District Courts

GGD-98-57R: Published: Feb 11, 1998. Publicly Released: Feb 27, 1998.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the distribution of the number of federal district court judgeships throughout the United States and the population and case filings per district court judgeship in each district and each state, focusing on: (1) the average population per authorized, active, and recommended federal district court judgeship by district and by state; (2) the average unweighted and weighted case filings--total, civil, and criminal--per authorized, active, and recommended federal district court judgeship by district court and by state; and (3) how district court workload is measured and used to assess judgeship needs.

GAO noted that: (1) the average population, unweighted case filings, and weighted case filings per judgeship varied widely among districts and states for each type of judgeship--authorized, active, and recommended; (2) for example, 1990 district population per authorized judgeship ranged from 40,460 in the District of Columbia to 967,515 in the Western District of Wisconsin; (3) fiscal year (FY) 1996 total unweighted case filings for authorized judgeship in each district ranged from 166 in the District of Wyoming to 3,849 in the Middle District of Louisiana; (4) by state, total weighted case filings per authorized judgeship ranged from 762 in Nevada; (5) nationally, the FY 1996 average unweighted case filings per authorized judgeship was 474 and the average weighted case filings per authorized judgeship was also 474; (6) civil case filings accounted for 389 of the 474 average unweighted case filings per authorized judgeship and 340 of the 474 weighted case filings per authorized judgeship; (7) the Judicial Conference of the United States is responsible for assessing the need for additional judgeships in each district court; (8) the Judicial Conference has established written workload standards and policies for assessing judgeship needs that use weighted case filings as the principal measure of a district's judicial workload; and (9) the Judicial Conference's policies also include consideration of judgmental factors, such as the district's management practices, but do not specifically include consideration of a district's population.

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