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FJC Changes to Serve Judiciary Judge Barbara Rothstein was appointed to the federal bench in 1980 and is a district judge in the U. S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. She was named Director of the Federal Judicial Center in 2003.
What was your perception of the FJC when you arrived in 2004, and has that perception changed since you became Director? What do you see as the Center’s strengths?
It’s so much more than I expected. I had no idea how truly exciting it would be or of the sheer talent of the people here. These are people—many of whom have been here a very long time—who are all innovative and creative and ready to take on new challenges. When I come up with an idea, people just take it and improve on it. It comes back to me tenfold. It’s a combination of knowledge and talent See Interview on page 10
Newsletter of the Federal Courts
Vol. 40 Number 9 September 2008
Judicial Conference Adopts Courtroom Sharing Policy As Latest Cost-Saver In furtherance of its aggressive cost containment efforts, the Judicial Conference adopted at its September meeting a policy for senior trial judges to share courtrooms in new construction. In addition, the Conference took steps to develop and implement a courtroom sharing policy for magistrate judges, to study the feasibility of and develop an appropriate policy for sharing courtrooms by nonsenior district judges in large courthouses, and to study courtroom use in bankruptcy courts, and if the results warrant, develop a sharing policy for those courtrooms. The Conference’s Committee on Court Administration and
Case Management, which proposed the courtroom use recommendations to the Conference, reported that “the new policies strike the appropriate balance between the Judiciary’s fundamental responsibility of ensuring the fair and efficient administration of justice and the general governmental responsibility to be good stewards of the taxpayers’ money.” A courtroom use analysis was requested by a House of Representatives subcommittee, and the comprehensive study was conducted by the Federal Judicial Center. The U.S. Courts Design Guide policy changes adopted apply to new courthouse See Judicial Conference on page 2
New Chairs Head Six Conference Committees Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr., has appointed six new Judicial Conference Committee chairs and extended the terms of two current chairs. Judge M. Margaret McKeown (9th Cir.) succeeds Judge Gordon J. Quist (W.D. Mich.) as chair of the
Committee on Codes of Conduct; Judge Claire V. Eagan (N.D. Okla.) succeeds Judge John Gleeson (E.D. NY) as chair of the Committee on Defender Services; Judge Bobby R. Baldock (10th Cir.) succeeds Judge See New Chairs on page 4
IT Website for Judges ........................................................................................................................................ pg. 4 Information Flow Benefits Crime Victims..................................................................................................... pg. 5 Supreme Court Reporter Talks About the Judiciary.................................................................................... pg. 7
Judicial Conference continued from page 1 construction and additional courtrooms in existing buildings. In addition to these changes, the Conference previously had approved a comprehensive review of the courts’ Design Guide, which included a reduction in the space allotted to chambers, clerks’ offices and other court entities; entered into an agreement with the General Services Administration that will ensure consistency in the calculation of rents; and placed caps on annual increases in rent. The Conference also adopted a pair of significant changes in the pay system used for most federal Judiciary employees, steps that also should result in Judiciary cost savings. Specifically, the Conference approved 40 new position benchmarks, job titles, and classification levels for the Court Personnel System (CPS), the compensation structure for about two-thirds of the federal Judiciary’s employees. In recommending the change, the Conference’s Committee on Judicial Resources said, “The current job duties and responsibilities performed by court employees will
be more accurately reflected than at any time in the last 15 years.” The Conference also altered the salary progression policy and performance management guidelines. Both salary-related measures flow from a Court Compensation Study begun in 2005 to “explore fair and reasonable opportunities to limit future compensation costs.” In September 2007, the Conference approved modernizing the benchmarks and altering the CPS salary funding and progression policy. Several components of the previous two recommendations were approved by Conference action at this meeting. In 2004, the Judicial Conference approved a comprehensive strategy for controlling future costs in the Judiciary. Subsequently, the Conference approved budget caps through fiscal year 2017 for the Judiciary’s major accounts. Cost-containment strategies, in addition to those affecting compensation, have been implemented, including a temporary space moratorium and a revision of the U.S. Courts Design Guide to control growth in space rental
(left to right) Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., with Judicial Conference members Chief Judge Garrett E. Brown, Jr. (D. NJ) and Judge Myron H. Thompson (M.D. Ala.), and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The Third Branch
requirements, the aggregation of IT servers to eliminate duplication, and the sharing of administrative functions in the courts. In other action the Conference agreed to: • Authorize one additional Spanish staff court interpreter position each for the Central District of California, the District of New Mexico, the District of Oregon, and the Western District of Texas. The positions were requested to address an increased volume of Spanish/English interpreting proceedings. • Authorize six new full-time magistrate judge positions: two positions in the District of New Jersey, and one additional magistrate judge position in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, the Eastern District of Texas, the Western District of Tennessee, and the Western District of Arkansas. The full time magistrate judge position in the Eastern District of Kentucky is also authorized to serve in the adjoining Western District of Virginia and the adjoining Eastern District of Tennessee.
Judge Barbara J. Rothstein, Director of the Federal Judicial Center, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., and Judge M. Margaret McKeown (9th Cir.) chair of the Committee on Codes of Conduct.
Judicial Conference of the United States, September 16, 2008
Seated: (L to R) Chief Judge Sandra Lynch (1st Cir.); Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs (2nd Cir.); Chief Judge Anthony J. Scirica (3rd Cir.); Chief Judge Karen J. Williams (4th Cir.); Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.; Chief Judge Danny J. Boggs (6th Cir.); Chief Judge Frank H. Easterbrook (7th Cir.); Chief Judge James B. Loken (8th Cir.) Standing, Second Row: (L to R) Judge Ernest C. Torres, (D. RI); Chief Judge William K. Sessions III (D.Vt.); Chief Judge Garrett E. Brown, Jr. (D. N.J.); Chief Judge David Bryan Sentelle (DC Cir.); Chief Judge Paul R. Michel (Fed. Cir.); Judge Sidney Thomas (9th Cir.); Chief Judge Robert H. Henry (10th Cir.); Chief Judge J. L. Edmondson (11th Cir.); Chief Judge James P. Jones (W.D. Va.) Standing, Third Row: (L to R) Judge Thomas M. Rose (S.D. Ohio); Judge Wayne R. Andersen (N.D. Ill.); Judge Charles R. Breyer (N.D. Cal.); Judge Alan B. Johnson (D. Wyo.); Judge Lawrence L. Piersol (D. S.D.); Judge Myron H. Thompson (M.D. Ala.); Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth (D. D.C.); Chief Judge Jane A. Restani (Intâ€™l Trade); and James C. Duff, Director, AOUSC
Chief Judge Anthony J. Scirica (3rd Cir.), chair of the Executive Committee, with Judicial Conference member Chief Judge J.L. Edmondson (11th Cir.).
Chairman of the U.S. Sentencing Commission Judge Richardo H. Hinojosa with Judge Julie E. Carnes (N.D. Ga.), chair of the Criminal Law Committee.
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Website is Judges’ One Stop for IT Who gives the best advice to judges on how to pull information from the case management/electronic case files system, work with hyperlinks in opinions, create events calendars, or use e-mail? Turns out, it’s other judges. That is the idea behind a new website launched by the Federal Judicial Center with the Administrative Office, called Judges’ IT: Ideas and Best Practices for Chambers Automation. Many of the IT-related materials on the website are presented by judges, for judges. The website can be found on the Center’s intranet website, at http:// cwn.fjc.dcn/jit/home.nsf.
“Judges speak the same language,” said Judge Thomas I. Vanaskie (M.D. Pa.), chair of the Judicial Conference Committee on Information Technology. “When they say they’re successful using an IT feature in their chambers, other judges tend to listen.” The website is the brainchild of a Center roundtable held in February 2007 on the effective uses of IT for judges. “We knew we had a lot of good material on IT topics scattered around the web, but we were disappointed by the degree to which they were used. Materials were hard to find,” said Vanaskie. “We wanted a onestop option. One website—where judges could find IT training and tutorials that would improve how we function as judges.” At the request of the Judicial Conference Committee on Informa-
tion Technology, the Federal Judicial Center and the Administrative Office developed a website and launched it in mid-August. On the webpages, judges have access to IT training materials, forums to discuss specific IT questions or problems, and technical help, if they need it. The training tutorials, grouped by subject, application, title, presenter, or date, provide initial instruction through demonstrations and guided practice simulations. The discussion forums allow judges to share their IT questions, solutions, and ideas with other judges. Forums have formed on case management, courtroom technology, opinion writing and remote access, among others. “This website makes all the IT materials more accessible,” said Vanaskie.
New Chairs continued from page 1
Judge Bobby R. Baldock (10th Cir.)
Judge Rosemary M. Collyer (D. D.C.)
Ortrie D. Smith (W.D. Mo.) as chair of the Committee on Financial Disclosure; Judge Rosemary M. Collyer (D. D.C.) succeeds Judge Thomas I. Vanaskie (M.D. Pa.) as chair of the Committee on Information Technology, and Judge John Walker Jr. (2nd Cir.) succeeds Judge Ralph K. Winter (2nd Cir.) as chair of the Committee on Judicial Conduct and Disability. Terms for the new chairs begin October 1, 2008. Judge J. FredThe Third Branch
Judge M. Margaret McKeown (9th Cir.)
Judge John Walker Jr. Judge Claire V. Eagan (2nd Cir.) (N.D. Okla.)
erick Motz (D. Md.) succeeded Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth (D.D.C.) as chair of the Committee on Intercircuit Assignments. His appointment was effective June 2, 2008. The reappointed chairs are Judge John R. Tunheim (D. Minn.), chair of the Committee on Court Administration and Case Management, and Judge Carl E. Stewart (5th Cir.), chair of the Advisory Committee on Appellate Rules.
Judge J. Frederick Motz (D. Md.)
The Judicial Conference operates through a network of committees created to address and advise on a wide variety of subjects. Appointments to Conference committees are made by the Chief Justice. With the exception of the Executive, Judicial Branch, and Budget Committees, committee chairs usually serve for a term of three years. Six years of cumulative committee service usually is considered the maximum a member may serve.
Crime Victims Benefit from Flow of Court Information The Victim Notification System (VNS), an automated system used by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to notify more than 1.5 million registered federal crime victims of developments in their cases, will add more data on court events thanks to a cooperative venture with the federal courts. The Judicial Conference approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the DOJ to develop an interface between the federal Judiciary’s Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) system and DOJ’s VNS. Every night, court event information—notices of hearings, sentences, etc—can be extracted from the CM/ECF system and electronically passed to the VNS. Three district courts are now testing the interface: the District of Kansas, the District of Colorado, and the Northern District of Illinois. “With the interface, crime victims are getting the most timely notice possible of case events,” said Chief Deputy Clerk Ingrid Campbell, in the District of Kansas. “The information is reliable and the transfer happens with very little effort by the court. Whatever is documented that day automatically goes to the DOJ database that night.” The District of Kansas has been live with the pilot for several months. The District of Colorado has participated for over a month, and the Northern District of Illinois is scheduled to begin its pilot in late September. Over the last decade, Congress has enacted several pieces of legisla-
tion addressing the needs of crime victims, including most recently the Crime Victims’ Rights Act of 2004. Victims must be notified of significant stages and procedural developments in the criminal justice process. Victims must be kept aware of the status of an investigation of a crime, including subsequent prosecution, trial, incarceration, and location and custody status of the offender related to the crime. The VNS is designed to do that, notifying victims by automated letter, e-mail, or a toll-free telephone call center as well as providing Internet access to victim information. The VNS also notifies victims of court events, such as competency hearings or when a guilty plea is entered. Prior to this initiative, data on those court events was maintained by the Judiciary and had to be sent to DOJ, where it was manually entered into a database by personnel at individual U.S. Attorney offices then transferred to the VNS. “The interface with CM/ECF means data can be converted without re-entering and the possible loss of accuracy,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Kurt Shernuk in the District of Kansas and the DOJ Project Manager who has worked with the federal courts on the pilot project. “And there’s a bonus for the federal courts. It’s a great resource for federal probation officers who will have access to the database and the notification capabilities of VNS.” As part of the MOU with DOJ, districts participating in the CM/ ECF data transfer will have passwords to access the VNS. Electronic access to the database replaces the spreadsheets or printouts previously provided to a probation office by the local U.S. Attorney or the case agent. Bryce Beckett, a senior U.S. Probation Officer in the District of Kansas, along with Senior Probation Offi-
cers Milt Ruble and Michelle Caples, who have tested the system, say the VNS saves considerable time when tracking down victim information. “Victims have access to the VNS and can keep their own contact information up to date,” said Beckett, “which increases our success in reaching them with news of convictions, sentencings, their right to speak at sentencing, and possible restitution.” “The interface is a real benefit to probation officers who have to prepare victim-impact statements,” added Clerk of Court Chris Vagner in the District of Colorado. “Our officers were given training by DOJ on how to use their system. Now, they’re able to use DOJ’s system to build letters for them with all the victim information and the correct hearing information.” The VNS actually creates the letters probation officers send to victims. “It’s an unbelievable help,” Beckett said, who recently used the VNS to notify more than 300 victims in a case. According to Leigh Kinzer, Operations Administrator in the District of Kansas, a court needs to have version 3.2.2. of the CM/ECF system to participate. “The system asks the court to verify a series of deadlines at startup and the court must approve transfer of data to the VNS,” said Kinzer. “Then it’s a completely automated process.” “Really, it’s the database that’s doing the work,” Campbell said. “This is as simple as pie,” Vagner agreed. “It was the easiest implementation of a system we’ve ever had. Courts just have to be careful to set hearings at specific locations. But from the perspective of the clerk’s office, I can’t think of reason why a court wouldn’t do it.”
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Sunshine Litigation Bill Unnecessary Legislation introduced this session in Congress would effectively amend the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure with regard to the use of protective orders in discovery and the use of confidentiality provisions in settlement agreements. On behalf of the Judicial Conference in July, Judge Mark R. Kravitz, chair of the Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Civil Rules, testified in opposition to the bill, the Sunshine in Litigation Act, before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law. The Conference opposes H.R. 5884 and its companion bill in the Senate, S. 2449, because they bypass the Rules Enabling Act process established by Congress. Kravitz also noted that the legislation is viewed by the Conference Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure and the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules as unnecessary legislation that will burden the courts and have significant adverse consequences for civil litigation. The House bill, H.R. 5884, would require a judge presiding over a case, who is asked to enter a protective order governing discovery under Rule 26 (c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, to make findings of
Representative Linda Sánchez (D-CA), chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law, presided over the House hearing. The Third Branch
The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law heard testimony on H.R. 5884 from (l to r) attorney Richard D. Meadow, Professor John P. Freeman from the University of South Carolina Law School, Judge Mark R. Kravitz, chair of the Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Civil Rules, and Judge Joseph F. Anderson, Jr. (D. S.C.).
fact that the information obtained through discovery is not relevant to the protection of public health or safety or, if it is relevant, that the public interest in disclosure of potential health or safety hazards is outweighed by the public interest in maintaining the confidentiality of the information and that the protective order requested is no broader than necessary to protect the privacy interest asserted. Kravitz told the subcommittee that the Judicial Conference Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure and the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules had extensively studied similar legislation introduced in successive Congresses beginning in 1991. The committees determined not to recommend that the Judicial Conference support the change for three reasons. “First,” he said, “the bill is unnecessary. Second, it would impose an intolerable burden on the courts. Third, it would have significant adverse consequences on civil litigation, including making litigation more expensive and making it more difficult to protect important privacy interests.” Kravitz cited a study by the Federal Judicial Center, completed
in 1996, that examined 38,170 cases filed in three districts between 1990 and 1992. Discovery protective orders were requested in only about 6 percent of the civil cases in those districts—most by motion, which courts carefully reviewed. Of the 398 cases that had protective order activity, only half involved a protective order restricting disclosure of discovery materials, and of those about 9 percent were personal injury cases. “The empirical data showed no evidence that protective orders create any significant problem of concealing information about public hazards,” said Kravitz. The Rules Committees also studied examples of cases in which information was kept from the public, but concluded that enough pertinent information could be found in publicly available court documents and in the media to protect public health or safety. Kravitz testified that courts review motions for protective orders carefully and often deny or modify them to grant only the protection needed, recognizing the importance of public access to court filings.
“[E]ven when a protective order is entered,” Kravitz testified, “it usually does not result in the sealing of all, or even many documents or information submitted to the court. Case law shows that courts are rightly protective of the public’s right to gain access to information and documents submitted to the courts.” Also, according to Kravitz, it would be difficult if not impossible to require courts to review discovery information, which can total several million pages, before making public health and safety determinations in every request for a protective order. “If obtaining a protective order required an item-by-item judicial consideration to determine whether the information was relevant to the protection of the public health or safety, as contemplated under the bill, parties would be less likely to seek or rely on such orders and less willing to produce information voluntarily, leading to discovery disputes. “The Rules Committees consistently have concluded that provisions affecting Rule 26(c), similar to those sought in H.R. 5884, are not warranted and would adversely affect the administration of justice,” Kravitz said.
Pulitzer Prize Winning Reporter Discusses the Media and the Federal Judiciary Linda Greenhouse retired in mid-July following a 40-year career with the New York Times. She covered the U.S. Supreme Court and, on occasion other aspects of the federal Judiciary since 1978, and in 1998 won the Pulitzer Prize for her Supreme Court coverage. She was interviewed recently by Dick Carelli, now a member of the Office of Public Affairs, Administrative Office, but formerly the Associated Press Supreme Court reporter for 24 years. Here are some of Greenhouse’s observations: On technological changes in journalism and the courts over the past three decades . . . “When I started covering the [Supreme] Court, you couldn’t have an informed conversation with anybody anywhere, except somebody who had been at Court and picked up the bench copy of that opinion that day. I don’t think fax machines were in common use. So, what technology has done is really enable a conversation about the Court, and I found that made my job more rewarding, richer and much less isolated. Now the Supreme Court has a very good website. Commentators put up immediate links. People put up their own speciality blogs. It’s really night and day.” On the news media’s commitment to covering courts . . . “I would have to say it’s diminished at a time when I think it’s more necessary than ever. I do occasionally get calls from judges around the country who tell me they’re having a problem with the local media; that they’re not being covered well or being covered at all. They ask me if they should call in the reporters and have a little chat. And I always say that’s nice but that’s not going to get you anywhere. The ones you need to connect with are the editors, the producers, the news directors—the ones who are in a position to make
the commitment to let the reporters stay on the beat long enough so that they are not covering the federal courthouse one day and the local school board meeting the next day.” On cameras in court . . . “I’m in favor of it, in a general way. I understand the objections. I’ve never been a crusader for cameras, but I think, well done and well used, [camera coverage] in the hands of people who know what they’re doing certainly enhances the understanding of the court system.” On judges’ pay restoration. . . “I think linking judicial pay to congressional pay, which seemed like a good idea when it first happened, is an example of the common rule of ‘watch what you wish for.’ I just think it’s a horrible impasse. What really got my attention was a hearing that the Brookings Institution ran a few years ago where Justice Breyer made a presentation. He said “we’re not trying to get judges’ pay raised to the level of senior partners in most law firms; that’s not the issue. But 10 or 20 or 25 years ago, judicial pay was basically on a level of pay of tenured law professors at leading law schools, and now that’s completely out of whack. The law professors’ pay has gone up, and judges’ pay has stagnated. I just think the politics of it is certainly unfortunate.” See Greenhouse Interview on page 9
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Appointed: Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr., as U.S. District Judge, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, August 1. Appointed: G. Murray Snow, as U.S. District Judge, U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, July 24. Appointed: Cathy Bissoon, as U.S. Magistrate Judge, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, August 1. Elevated: U.S. District Judge Anne C. Conway, to Chief Judge, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, succeeding U.S. District Judge Patricia C. Fawsett, August 23. Elevated: U.S. District Judge Paul Lewis Maloney, to Chief Judge, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, succeeding U.S. District Judge Robert Holmes Bell, July 18. Elevated: U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin J. Carey, to Chief Bankruptcy Judge, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, succeeding U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Mary F. Walrath, July 1. Senior Status: U.S. District Judge Patricia C. Fawsett, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, August 22. Senior Status: U.S. District Judge Susan C. Bucklew, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, August 1. Senior Status: U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte, U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, September 1.
Retired: U.S. Magistrate Judge Francis X. Calazza, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, July 31. Retired: U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark D. Fox, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, August 5.
Published monthly by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts Office of Public Affairs One Columbus Circle, N.E. Washington, D.C. 20544 (202) 502-2600 Visit our Internet site at http://www.uscourts.gov DIRECTOR James C. Duff
Retired: U.S. Magistrate Judge James S. Gallas, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, August 10.
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF David A. Sellers MANAGING EDITOR Karen E. Redmond
Retired: U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry R. Poretz, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, August 16. Resigned: U.S. Magistrate Judge Terrance W. Hall, U.S. District Court for Alaska, May 30. Resigned: U.S. Magistrate Judge Theresa M. Owens, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, September 7. Deceased: U.S. Senior District Judge William Brevard Hand, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, September 6. Deceased: U.S. Senior District Judge Thomas Gray Hull, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, July 29. Deceased: U.S. Senior District Judge John F. Nangle, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, August 24.
PRODUCTION Linda Stanton CONTRIBUTOR Dick Carelli, AO Please direct all inquiries and address changes to The Third Branch at the above address or to Karen_Redmond@ao.uscourts.gov.
JUDICIAL BOXSCORE As of September 1, 2008 Courts of Appeals
Courts with “Judicial Emergencies”
For more information on vacancies in the federal Judiciary, visit our website at www.uscourts.gov under Newsroom.
Up-to-date information on judicial vacancies is available at http://www. uscourts.gov/judicialvac.html
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32 26 13
Greenhouse Interview continued from page 7 On the relationship between the news media and the federal courts . . . “I think it’s a very personal thing. It has to do with the personalities of individuals, the notion of appropriate interaction with the press that judges bring with them from their previous careers, and the kind of media climate or context of any federal courthouse. I remember I gave a presentation at one of the new-judge programs at the FJC more than a few years ago, and I was startled at the hostility from some of these new judges. And those who were the most suspicious and skeptical were the ones coming from corporate law practice; not people coming from the public sector or magistrate judges. That’s what I meant when I said it’s hard to generalize about judges, or reporters for that matter. It’s a very personal thing, the kind of background that they bring to the task of the interaction. So whatever can be done on a one-on-one basis certainly is a very helpful thing.”
Linda Greenhouse, recently retired after 30 years of covering the U.S. Supreme Court for The New York Times, talked to the Administrative Office’s Dick Carelli about the relationship between the news media and the federal courts. She soon will teach at the Yale Law School.
Higher Education Opportunity Act Passes
Federal Defenders Now Eligible for Student Loan Forgiveness Provisions to enhance the recruitment and retention of well-qualified attorneys to serve the public as federal defenders are included in a bill recently signed into law by the President. H.R. 4137, the “Higher Education Opportunity Act,” became Pub. L. No. 110-315 on August 14, 2008, with a provision extending to federal defenders the ability to participate in the cancellation of Perkins student loans. The Judicial Conference proposed the provision. “I am pleased that federal defender attorneys will now have the same access to forgiveness of
Federal Perkins Student Loans as their United States Attorney counterparts,” said Judge John Gleeson (E.D. NY), chair of the Judicial Conference Committee on Defender Services. “Parity in benefits reflects the importance of the work performed in defender offices and will assist in recruiting and retaining qualified and diversified personnel.” The Federal Perkins Loan Program provides low-interest loans to help needy students finance the costs of postsecondary education. Borrowers who undertake certain law enforcement or corrections,
military, or teaching service are eligible to have all or part of their loans canceled. Under that employment criteria, the Department of Education had included prosecutors but not federal defenders. The new law provides parity for federal defenders with federal prosecutors in their ability to have Perkins student loans cancelled over a fiveyear period. The Higher Education Opportunity Act also contains a student loan repayment program for federal defenders, as well as for prosecutors and other defenders.
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I N T E R V I E W continued from page 1 and the willingness to face new challenges. The Center has to be like that because the Judiciary is a changing institution. If the Center is going to serve the Judiciary, it has to change, too. It needs to be right up there, either a step ahead or in stride with what changes are taking place with judges and with staff.
In the past year the FJC has produced brochures on classified evidence and conducted post BAPCPA-programs, seminars on management skills, and eight major research and evaluation projects, along with many other projects and programs. What is the Center— a research center that educates, or an educational center that does research? We’re both. I knew the education side when I first became Director, because I had taught a lot of their seminars and went to a lot of their workshops. I had very little knowledge that it even had a research section. But the research is every bit as important as the education. It’s turned into the issues that are facing the Judiciary. When Congress has a problem or an interest in what’s going on in the Judiciary, they turn to the Judicial Conference committees and the committees turn to us, because we are their research arm. People trust us, which is a wonderful thing. They know that our research division is very professional, very neutral, and very informed because we are within the Judicial Branch. So the Center knows the turf and it can hit the ground running on an issue. How do you select what the Center will study?
We don’t pick it out of the air. The topics come from the Conference committees. For
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example, our latest big project is on bankruptcy case weighting. That is vital because bankruptcy law has been changed and it is important to examine the caseloads of bankruptcy judges under the new statute. This project will be instrumental in determining the future number of bankruptcy judges. We did a study on the use of courtrooms. That request came from the Conference Committee on Court Administration and Case Management but it also involved the Judicial Resources Committee and the Committee on Space and Facilities. It was one of the largest and most complex studies that the Center has ever undertaken. The Committee on Federal-State Jurisdiction has asked us to do a training video, and we’ve also done research for them on death penalty habeas cases. We do some studies that aren’t really from the committees. For instance we’re re-doing the scientific reference manual—it straddles education and research—and that’s our own project.
How do you select educational programs for judges and court
We have education advisory committees. The judges who are on those advisory committees are judges who have shown a real interest in education. They’re drawn from all over the country, to make sure we’re not missing something that one area of the country would want. For instance, the border districts always are interested in sentencing and immigration issues. The advisory committees help us plan our workshops. In addition, I go to all the circuit conferences and to as many of our workshops as I can. Judges are not shy. They come over to me and
Judge Barbara Rothstein, Director of the Federal Judicial Center
request workshops on various subjects. There are requests coming from a number of judges. So John Cooke and Bruce Clarke and I sit down and say, ‘OK. We can only afford this number of seminars. Which of the ones that people really have been asking for do we really need?’ With all of our educational programs we follow an instructional design approach—assessing needs, identifying goals, selecting the best means of meeting those needs—and involving our attendees in the learning process with vignettes, quizzes, role-playing and questions and answers in the lectures. The learning process works best when participants are actively engaged in a discussion, in solving a problem, or in making a decision.
How does the FJC make use of the Web and new media? The Center uses many distance learning and desktop learning methods to make its programs available. Our recently redesigned intranet site,
FJC Online, is now a major source of Center program materials. One of our biggest projects, which we launched August 18, is the Judges’ IT page on FJC Online. We’re very proud of it. It’s still a work in progress, but it’s easy for people to use. There are about 100 tutorials for judges on IT solutions that make things easier for them, things that they can use in their daily work and are timesavers. Or suppose we had a workshop and you’re a judge who didn’t get to go, but you know that at that workshop they discussed law on terrorism. Each workshop has a web page with its agenda and the materials presented. Many sessions are digitally recorded and available on the program page, so a judge can listen to them 24/7 on the computer, or even download them onto an MP3 device and listen elsewhere. Our videos and FJTN programs are also available in streaming videos on the website and we have some FJC-based interactive education programs as well. Also, many of our publications are available online and we have a number of resource pages devoted to specific topics, such as the federal death penalty cases, case management issues in terrorism cases, and international law. We have webcasts, where we’ll have everybody on one site talking to each other.
Is this a cost saving measure?
Yes. We have to deliver as much as we can with a very small budget. If you can train people without constantly having to fly people around the country, you can save a lot of money.
The FJC’s mission includes a mandate to share information with the judiciaries of other nations. How does the Center do that?
We work closely with the Judicial Conference Committee on International Judicial Relations. Our mission is to work with judiciaries from other countries to spread the Rule of Law. Usually the Center is on the schedule for visiting judges. They visit the Supreme Court, they come here, and to the AO, then they go to the courts. The Center’s International Judicial Relations Office recently launched a webpage on FJC OnLine with background on the Center as well as resources on the U.S. courts for judges and court officials from abroad. Many emerging developing judiciaries are very interested in setting up Centers like the Federal Judicial Center. They want to know: how do you set up a Center? What’s the best way to staff it? Who should run it? The message we deliver is that a judicial training center should always be independent. Judges should educate judges. Then they want us to come and help them. I’m going to Ghana in October with two members of my staff. The Center does not have the money for international travel. We often work with the State Department, or USAID. In this case, we’re working with Fordham Law School. Ghana emerged for two reasons: In terms of African judiciaries, it is probably one of the most advanced. And they have a fabulous Chief Justice, a wonderful woman who is vitally interested in improving their judiciary and dealing with their problems. The Center’s international work is not limited to developing countries. In fact, the Center is expected to bring back information about foreign judiciaries to the U.S. There is a project with Argentina where the Center has assisted with the development of a training series
and a publication on the use of scientific evidence in the courts. What is the Visiting Foreign Judicial Fellows Program? Each year the Center hosts a small number of independently funded judges and legal scholars from other nations who spend one to six months at the Center conducting research in an area related to judicial administration. We have a judge here for four months from Afghanistan as part of the Program. That’s been wonderful. He’s working on a criminal trial bench book for Afghan judges modeled on the FJC Benchbook.
Resources are limited. How does the Center do everything it must do?
I wasn’t Director of the Center during the times when our budget was being cut and we couldn’t fill positions. That was very hard. Every time a suggestion for a new program came up, the Center had to be concerned about resources. We didn’t have enough manpower, and it takes a lot of manpower to put on a program. We’re still asked to do more than we can do and sometimes we can’t do, all the programs we’d like to do. But over the last few years, Congress has been good to us. We have recently ended a long hiring freeze and been able to hire new people—young people, all technically savvy—and they all have training in distance learning, webcasting, all the new media. So it’s like a shot in the arm. For the first time in several years, we can hire some additional people and expand our capabilities. I am just the lucky person who is Director at the time when we can do all this. See Interview on page 12
11 The Third Branch
Interview continued from page 11
What is the current relationship between the FJC and the AOUSC?
In a word, excellent. Our agencies regularly coordinate and collaborate on a wide range of projects and issues. We each have distinct missions, but ultimately we both exist to serve the courts. We can maximize that service only by working closely with each other to ensure that we use our own limited resources wisely and effectively. And we are doing that,
throughout both agencies, including at the top. Jim Duff and I have a wonderful relationship. He has been a magnificent leader for the AO and I enjoy working with him.
I understand the Center will be celebrating its 40th anniversary. Any plans for a celebration?
The Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon is helping us celebrate our 40th Anniversary. With a program on September 18-20. They called us and
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said, ‘We know you’re coming up on a 40th Anniversary. We would love to do something for it.’ And we said, sure. I just looked at the program and it’s fabulous.
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Published on Apr 9, 2010
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A: It’s so much more than I See Interview on page 10 See New Chairs on page 4 Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr., has appointed six new Judicia...