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Judicial Emergency Definition

A judicial emergency is defined as the following:
Circuit Court

  • 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.

District Court

  • 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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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).