Resolutions & Reports

Resolutions

Please find below all ABA policy relating to the federal judiciary that has been sponsored by the Standing Committee on Federal Judicial Improvements between 1985-2002.

Bankruptcy Appellate Panels
February 1992

RESOLVED, that the American Bar Association supports the enactment of federal legislation urging each circuit to create Bankruptcy Appellate Panels (BAPs).
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the requirement of consent by the parties be retained as a precondition to a BAP's jurisdiction over the case.

Bankruptcy Reappointment Process
August 1996

RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association supports amendment of the Bankruptcy Amendments and Federal Judgeship Act of 1984 to authorize the US Courts of Appeals to use a streamlined procedure for bankruptcy judge reappointments whereby a court of appeals, if it wishes to consider the reappointment of an incumbent bankruptcy judge, may evaluate that judge on the basis of his or her record of performance in office, after public comment, and without mandatory solicitation of addition applications for the vacancy.

BIAS
August 1991

RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association supports the enactment of authoritative measures, requiring studies of the existence, if any, of bias in the federal judicial system, including bias based on race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation and disability, and the extent to which bias may affect litigants, witnesses, attorneys and all those who work in the judicial branch.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges that such studies should include the development of remedial steps to address and eliminate any bias found to exist.
Adopted August 1991

Cameras in the Courts
February 1995

RESOLVED, that the American Bar Association urges the Judicial Conference to authorize further experimentation with cameras in federal civil proceedings by re-instituting a pilot project to permit photographing, recording and broadcasting of civil proceeding in selected federal courts under guidelines promulgated by the Judicial Conference.
Adopted February 1995

Chancellor
February 1986

BE IT RESOLVED, that the American Bar Association recommends that Congress create a new administrative position within the federal judiciary to be filled by a district or circuit judge, in either active or senior status, to be designated by the Chief Justice, to perform such duties concerned with administering the federal judicial system as the Chief Justice may assign, including president over meetings of the Judicial Conference, chairing the Board of the Federal Judicial Center, making inter-circuit assignments of judges, and coordinating and directing research and long-range planning for the federal courts.
Adopted February 1986

Circuit Restructuring
August 1999

RESOLVED, that the American Bar Association opposes enactment of legislation that mandates restructuring of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals into adjudicative divisions, in view of the absence of compelling empirical evidence to demonstrate adjudicative dysfunction.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the American Bar Association opposes the creation of district court appellate panels within the circuits.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the American Bar Association opposes the use of two-judge panels by any federal appellate court.
Adopted August 1999

Continued Federal Funding for the State Justice Institute
February 2002

RESOLVED, that the American Bar Association urges the Administration and Congress to maintained federal support for the State Justice Institute.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the American Bar Association urges Congress to fund the operations of the State Justice Institute at adequate and reasonable levels to enable it to carry out its mandate to award federal grants to improve the administration and quality of justice in state courts.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the American Bar Association supports the State Justice Institute's request for an appropriation of $13.55 million for Fiscal Year 2003.
Adopted February 2002

Direct Submission of Judiciary's Budget
August 1999

RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges Congress to: (1) authorize the Judicial Branch to submit its annual budget request, including its request for court facility construction projects, directly to Congress; and (2) strengthen the statutory prohibition against the President altering the Judiciary's request when he submits the annual, unified federal budget request to Congress.
Adopted August 1999

District Court of the Virgin Islands
February 1999

RESOLVED, that the American Bar Association urges Congress to establish the District Court of the Virgin Islands as a district court under Article III of the United States Constitution.
Adopted February 1999

Diversity Jurisidiction
August 1987

BE IT RESOLVED, that the American Bar Association urges the Congress to amend 28 U.S.C. 1332 to provide that in diversity of citizenship cases the value of the amount in controversy must exceed $50,000.
Adopted August 1987

Existing Judicial Vacancies
August 2002

BE IT RESOLVED, that the prompt filing of existing judicial vacancies in the federal courts of the United States is essential for the efficient, responsible and effective administration of justice; and that undue delays in the nomination and confirmation of candidates for vacancies in the federal courts of the United States adversely affects such effective, responsible and timely administration of justice;
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the American Bar Association urges
1. the President of the United States promptly to nominate candidates to fill vacancies in the federal courts of the United States
2. the Senate Committee on the Judiciary promptly to act on nominees for full Senate consideration, and
3. the Senate of the United States promptly to advise and consent to or reject the nominees;
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the American Bar Association urges its members and state, local, and territorial bar associations to encourage the President to make prompt appointments to fill federal judicial vacancies and to contact the appropriate members of the Senate to urge prompt hearings and votes on pending nominations for the federal courts of the United States.
Adopted August 2002

Funding for Courthouse Construction
September 1998
FY2000 Funding for Courthouse Construction

Impeachment
August 1986

BE IT RESOLVED, that the American Bar Association supports in principle the Judicial Discipline and Impeachment Reform Act of 1989 (Title II of H.R. 1620) which provides for a National Commission on Judicial Impeachment to report to the Chief Justice, the Congress and the President.
Adopted February 1990

Judicial Discipline
February 1990

BE IT RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges the house of Representatives promptly to consider impeaching any federal judge who is convicted of a felony and who has exhausted his appeals but who has failed to resign from office forthwith.
Adopted August 1986

Judicial Independence (Report of the Commission on Separation of Powers and Judicial Independence)
February 1998

RESOLVED, that the American Bar Association supports the following principles to preserve and strengthen federal judicial independence and separation of powers, derived from the July 4, 1997 Report of the ABA Commission on Separation of Powers and Judicial Independence, An Independent Judiciary:
1. Public officials should refrain from threatening to initiate judicial impeachment proceedings because of disagreement with isolated decision of a federal judge;
2. State and local and territorial bar associations should develop effective mechanisms for evaluating and, when appropriate, promptly responding to misleading criticism involving judges and judicial decisions;
3. Congress should enact legislation to exclude from the presidential line-item veto authority budgetary items involving the federal judiciary's appropriations;
4. Congress should de-link congressional pay from judicial pay and make judicial salaries subject to the same periodic and automatic cost-of-living adjustments granted career federal employees.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the American Bar Association should take the lead in the formation of a consortium of organizations dedicated to an independent judiciary and impartial system of equal justice to (a) continue research into the causes of eroding confidence in the judicial and justice systems throughout the country; and (b) develop and implement long-term educational programs, both in the schools, as well as for the public generally, with defined goals and strategies, focused upon improving public understanding of our system of justice and within it the vital concept of an independent judiciary.
Adopted February 1998

Judicial Pay Increases
February 2007

RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association endorses recent statement by the Chief Justice of the United States that the failure to raise judicial pay is now a “crisis that threatens to undermine the strength and independence of the federal Judiciary.”
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the American Bar Association urges Congress to take immediate action to enact a substantial pay increase for the federal judiciary, consistent with the recent analysis by Paul Volcker, former chair of the National Commission on the Public Service, which recognized the inadequacy of federal judicial salaries and that increases in federal judicial salaries have not even kept pace with increases in average American worker wages. 

Long Range Plan for the Federal Courts
August 1995

RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association supports efforts by the Judicial Conference of the United States to plan for the future of the Federal Courts and adopts the policy positions set forth in Appendix C in response to the Proposed Long Range Plan for the Federal Courts which was submitted to the Judicial Conference of the United States in March 1995.
Adopted August 1995


National Vaccine Injury Compensation
August 1987

BE IT RESOLVED, that the American Bar Association urges the Congress to repeal those provisions of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program of 1986 (PL 99-660) that involve the federal courts in rendering advisory opinions and performing inappropriate administrative functions, before funding the program.
Adopted August 1987

Office for Improvements in the Administration of Justice
February 1992

BE IT RESOLVED, that the American Bar Association supports the reestablishment in the United States Department of Justice of the Office for Improvements in the Administration of Justice (OIAJ) with broad authority to pursue a range of programs and projects relating to the entire justice system.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Office be headed by an Assistant Attorney General, under the direction of the Attorney General.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that OIAJ be authorized and responsible for developing ways to improve the operation of the civil and criminal justice system and to enhance citizen access to justice.
Adopted February 1992

Permanent and Temporary Judgeships
August 2001

RESOLVED, that the American Bar Association supports the enactment of legislation to authorize needed permanent and temporary judgeships, as requested by the Judicial Conference of the United States, for the five district courts situated along the border between the United States and Mexico.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that all existing and future vacancies in these affected courts should be filled promptly to enable these courts to adjudicate all their cases in a fair, just and timely manner.
Adopted August 2001

Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act
August 1986

BE IT RESOLVED, that the American Bar Association urges Congress to limit statutorily the availability in civil cases of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act by amending it to:
a. Change the Act's definition of "pattern of racketeering activity" to require that alleged acts of racketeering be shown to be part of a continuing scheme or plan of criminal activity, increase to five the number of acts of criminal activity which must be alleged in wire and m ail fraud cases, and reduce to five years the time period in which the alleged acts must have occurred;
b. Provide that a person who brings a frivolous, unreasonable or bad faith suit, or a suit for the purpose of harassing one's business competitors, shall be subject to costs and reasonable attorneys' fees expended by the defendant in defending the action; and
c. Make applicable to the Act the provisions of Rule 65 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedures with respect to the granting of injunctive relief under the Act.
Adopted August 1986

Removal
February 1986

BE IT RESOLVED, that the American Bar Association supports enactment of federal legislation such as H.R. 2446, 99th Congress, providing that a federal court to which an action is removed from state court will not be barred from hearing and determining a claim because the state court lacked jurisdiction over it.
Adopted February 1986

Science and Technology
February 1994

RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association supports in principle the following conclusions and recommendations set forth in the March 1993 Report of the Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology and Government entitled Science and Technology in Judicial Decision Making:
1. The present adversarial process is competent to manage the problems associated with the complex issues of science and technology which come before the Court.
2. Judges should take an active role in managing the presentation of scientific and technological issues in litigation whenever appropriate.
3. Scientific and technical issues should be integrated into traditional judicial education programs.
4. Institutional linkages between the judicial and scientific communities should be developed to facilitate judicial education and to further understanding between such communities.
5. An independent non-governmental Science and Justice Council of judges, lawyers, scientists and others should be established to monitor changes that may have an impact on the ability of the courts to manage and adjudicate scientific and technological issues; it should also initiate improvements in the courts' access to and understanding of scientific and technological information.
Adopted February 1994

Social Security Administration Nonacquiescence
August 1985

BE IT RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges the Social Security Administration to observe, in all states of administrative proceedings, the applicable decisions of the United States Court of Appeals for the circuit in which the matter has arisen, subject to the agency seeking review in the United States Supreme Court.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges that, in the event the Social Security Administration continues its nonacquiescence policy, in its former or present form, Congress enact legislation to mandate the agency to observe fully within each circuit the decisions of the Court of Appeals within that circuit, subject to the agency seeking review in the United States Supreme Court.
Adopted August 1985

Space and Facilities
August 1992

RESOLVED, that the American Bar Association supports in principle legislation which provides the federal judiciary with control over its space and facilities.
Adopted August 1992

Supporting Bipartisan Commissions to Recommend Candidates for Nomination to the Federal Bench
August 2008

RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association supports the selection as federal judges of men and women of diverse backgrounds and experiences, whose professional competence, integrity, and judicial temperament, including commitment to equal justice under law, fully qualify them to serve in the federal judiciary;
FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association supports the practice of federal judges providing advance notice of their intention to leave active federal judicial service in order to facilitate the timely nomination of individuals to vacant judgeships;
FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association encourages the senators in each state jointly and the delegates in each territory to appoint (in cooperation with others not of their party when appropriate) bipartisan commissions of lawyers and other leaders, reflecting the diversity of the profession and the community, to evaluate the qualifications of prospective district judges and to recommend possible nominees whom their senators or delegate might suggest for the President’s consideration;
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FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association endorses the use of bipartisan commissions to consider and recommend prospective nominees for the United States Courts of Appeals;
FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association recommends that the President consult with Senate leaders of both parties and the home state senators or delegate in advance of submitting nominations;
FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges the President and Senate to promptly fill judicial vacancies and act expeditiously, especially with respect to nominees recommended by bipartisan commissions; and
FURTHER RESOLVED, That this resolution supersedes the August 1977 resolution (appended) concerning the judicial nomination and confirmation process.
Adopted August 2008

Three Judge District Courts
August 1995

RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association opposes enactment of legislation which would require: 1) a three-judge district court to hear applications for interlocutory or permanent injunctions when the constitutionality of a state or territory law passed by referendum is challenged and; 2) direct appeal of such actions to the US Supreme Court.
Adopted August 1995

SCFJI Bylaws
August 2010

Amends §31.7 of the Constitution to expand the size of the Standing Committee on Federal Judicial Improvements from nine to eleven members.

It was adopted August 2010. 

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