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NCJ Number: 78381 Find in a Library
Title: Extra Judges in a Federal Appellate Court - The Ninth Circuit
Author(s): S L Wasby
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 16
Sponsoring Agency: American Philosophical Soc Penrose Fund
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, IL 62901
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines practices of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for inconsistencies of decisionmaking due to the assignment of 'extra' judges (active duty district and senior judges from within the circuit, visiting judges, and judges of specialized Federal courts) among whom communication is infrequent.
Abstract: Interviews with circuit and district judges in the Ninth Circuit were conducted in 1977. There was an increase in the Ninth Circuit's use of extra judges in cases decided by three-judge panels during the period 1970-1975, by which time less than 10 percent of the court's output was being decided by panels of three active duty circuit judges. Interviewees admitted to less unanimity of thought because of the increased size of the circle, but only three of nine judges felt that intracircuit inconsistency had increased significantly because of the presence of extra judges from outside the circuit. Other difficulties include scheduling, authority, prestige, and communications problems. Senior circuit judges may also lack energy and represent an increasingly rigid legal viewpoint. Benefits of using district court and visiting judges in appellate courts include reduction of the workload and enhancement of the decisionmaking process through the different perspectives brought to bear on the final decision. The interviews revealed that the Ninth Circuit's own judges are not seriously concerned that participation of extra judges on their panels causes intracircuit inconsistency. Footnotes and 35 references are provided.
Index Term(s): Appellate courts; Caseload management; Judge selection; Judges; Judicial decisions
Note: Earlier version of this article was presented at the meetings of the American Political Science Association, Washington, DC, September 2, 1979.
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