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The Chief Justice of the United States is the presiding officer of the Judicial Conference. Membership is comprised of the chief judge of each judicial circuit, the Chief Judge of the Court of International Trade, and a district judge from each regional judicial circuit.

A circuit chief judge's term on the Conference is concurrent with his or her term as chief judge of the circuit. Section 45 of title 28, United States Code, provides that, with limited exceptions, the chief judge of a circuit may serve for seven years or until attaining the age of seventy years, whichever comes first. Similar provisions apply to the Chief Judge of the Court of International Trade. See U.S.C. 258.

District judge representatives are elected for terms of not less than three nor more than five successive years, as established by majority vote of all circuit and district judges of the circuit (28 U.S.C. §331). By Conference policy, terms are effective and expire on October 1 of any given year.