Federal Judiciary:

Information on Noncase-Related Travel of Article III Judges in 6 Circuits and 34 Districts

GGD-98-67R: Published: Mar 9, 1998. Publicly Released: Mar 25, 1998.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the noncase-related travel of Article III judges for the period January 1, 1995, through September 30, 1997, focusing on circuit courts of appeals and districts for which the Judicial Conference of the United States: (1) requested additional judgeships in March 1997; and (2) did not request judgeships, but which had experienced a judgeship vacancy for 18 months or more as of September 30, 1997.

GAO noted that: (1) the 64 circuit courts of appeals judges who responded to its request for travel data reported that they took a total of 1,463 noncase-related trips encompassing 3,220 workdays during the period January 1, 1995, through September 30, 1997; (2) the federal judiciary paid for all the trips; (3) there was a noticeable difference between the circuits with the highest and lowest average number of noncase-related trips per judge and between the circuits with the highest and lowest average number of workdays per judge spent on noncase-related travel; (4) the total number of trips reported varied among the circuits, and among judges within the same circuit; (5) the destinations visited by the circuit courts of appeals judges also varied widely--from local bar association meetings to trips overseas to teach seminars; (6) about 98 percent (1,434) of the 1,463 noncase-related trips taken by the circuit court judges during the period January 1, 1995, through September 30, 1997, were for destinations within the United States; (7) the 254 district court judges who responded to GAO's request for travel data reported that they took a total of 3,741 noncase-related trips encompassing 9,832 workdays during the period January 1, 1995, through September 30, 1997; (8) the federal judiciary paid for all the trips; (9) as with the circuit court travel data, there was a noticeable difference between the districts with the highest and lowest average number of noncase-related trips per judge and between the districts with the highest and lowest average number of workdays per judge spent on noncase-related travel; (10) the total number of trips reported by district court judges varied among the districts, and among judges within the same districts; (11) the destinations visited by the district court judges also varied widely--from local bar association meetings to trips overseas to teach seminars; and (12) nearly 99 percent (3,695) of the 3,741 noncase-related trips taken by the district court judges during the period January 1, 1995, through September 30, 1997, were for destinations within the United States.

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