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December 1998

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This article is in the news archives --- for current news go to the Third Branch News.


Search Begins for New Federal Judicial Center Director

The Board of the Federal Judicial Center has begun its search for a successor to Judge Rya W. Zobel, who has announced that she will return to the District of Massachusetts in July 1999. Zobel has served as Director of the Center since 1995. A search committee appointed by the Chief Justice will make recommendations to the Board. Chief Judge Marvin E. Aspen (N.D. Ill.) chairs the committee. Other members are Judge Bruce M. Selya (1st Cir.) and Judge Michael A. Telesca (W.D. N.Y.).

The Center's statutory functions include

  • Conducting research and analysis about federal court administration, case management, sentencing, and the litigation process, primarily for committees of the Judicial Conference.
  • Providing orientation and continuing education for judges and court employees, through seminars and workshops, education publications, satellite broadcasts, and multi-media programs.
  • Fostering judicial federalism, international judicial education, and preservation of federal court history.

The Center has a staff of 145 and a fiscal 1999 appropriation of $17,716,000.

The Board expects the director to relocate to the Washington, D.C., area and commit to a term of at least four years, with the expectation that the tenure will not exceed seven years. There are no other mandatory criteria, although the Board has asked the committee to consider, among other things, applicants' personal, management, and leadership skills and qualifications in the fields of education and research, including scholarship. Substantial familiarity with the federal courts and their operations is important. The Board has specified that at least one of the names recommended to it by the search committee be that of a federal judge, but it also seeks applications from nonjudges with the listed qualities.

All interested persons should contact the committee by letter (in triplicate) expressing interest in the position and enclosing a resume.

28 U.S.C. ยง 133(b) provides that if an active federal judge becomes Center director, the President shall appoint an additional judge for the director's court, although if the director returns to the court as an active judge, the next vacancy will go unfilled.

All expressions of interest should be sent to Chief Judge Aspen, preferably by February 7, 1999, at the U.S. District Court, Everett McKinley Dirksen Building, 219 South Dearborn Street, Chicago, Illinois 60604.

The committee expects to submit its recommendations to the Board in late March and the Board expects to select the next director in April.

Nominations Open for 1998 Devitt Award

Nominations for the 17th annual Edward J. Devitt Distinguished Service to Justice Award are open. The award, named for the late Judge Edward J. Devitt (D. Minn.), recognizes the dedicated public service of members of the federal Judiciary. All Article III federal judges are eligible for nomination. Entries should describe the nominee's accomplishments and professional activities that have contributed to the cause of justice. Any interested person or organization may submit a nomination by January 15, 1999, to Devitt Distinguished Service to Justice Award, 180 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 600, Chicago, IL. 60601-7401.