Judicial Emergency Definition
A judicial emergency is defined as the following:
- any vacancy in a court of appeals where adjusted filings per panel are in excess of 700; OR
- any vacancy in existence more than 18 months where adjusted filings are between 500 to 700 per panel.
- any vacancy where weighted filings are in excess of 600 per judgeship; OR
- any vacancy in existence more than 18 months where weighted filings are between 430 to 600 per judgeship; OR
- any court with more than one authorized judgeship and only one active judge.
- In determining judgeship needs in the U.S. district courts, the Judicial Conference uses weighted filings as a means of accounting for differences in the time required for judges to resolve various types of civil and criminal actions. Rather than counting each case as a single case, weights are applied based on the nature of cases. For example, cases involving a defaulted student loan are counted as 0.16 for each case and antitrust cases are counted as 3.72 cases. The criminal weights are applied on a per-defendant basis. The total for "weighted filings per judgeship" is the sum of all weights assigned to civil cases and criminal defendants, divided by the number of authorized judgeships.
- In the courts of appeals, adjusted filings are used in a similar manner to weighted filings in the district courts. Adjusted filings eliminate reinstated cases and weight pro se appeals as one-third of a case. All other cases have a weight of one. The total for "adjusted filings per panel" is adjusted filings divided by the number of authorized three-judge panels (authorized judgeships/3).