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H.R. 6755 - Judiciary Reforms, Organization and Operational Modernization Act of 2018

Introduced: 2018-09-10
Bill Status: Ordered to be Reported (Amended) by Voice Vote.
 
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Full Text


115th CONGRESS
2d Session
H. R. 6755


    To provide for additional Article III judges, to modernize the administration of justice, and for other purposes.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

September 10, 2018

    Mr. Issa (for himself and Mr. Goodlatte) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and in addition to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


A BILL

    To provide for additional Article III judges, to modernize the administration of justice, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title; table of contents.

(a) Short title.—This Act may be cited as the “Judiciary Reforms, Organization and Operational Modernization Act of 2018” or the “Judiciary ROOM Act of 2018”.

(b) Table of contents.—The table of contents for this Act is as follows:


TITLE I—JUDGESHIPS AND COURT ORGANIZATION


TITLE II—JUDICIAL OPERATIONS


TITLE III—COURT OPERATIONS

TITLE IJudgeships and Court Organization

SEC. 101. District judges for the district courts.

(a) In general.—The President shall appoint, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate—

(1) 7 additional district judges for the central district of California;

(2) 5 additional district judges for the eastern district of California;

(3) 2 additional district judges for the northern district of California;

(4) 3 additional district judges for the southern district of California;

(5) 1 additional district judge for the district of Colorado;

(6) 1 additional district judge for the district of Delaware;

(7) 6 additional district judges for the middle district of Florida;

(8) 1 additional district judge for the northern district of Florida;

(9) 3 additional district judges for the southern district of Florida;

(10) 1 additional district judge for the northern district of Georgia;

(11) 1 additional district judge for the district of ldaho;

(12) 1 additional district judge for the southern district of Indiana;

(13) 1 additional district judge for the district of Minnesota;

(14) 1 additional district judge for the district of Nevada;

(15) 3 additional district judges for the district of New Jersey;

(16) 2 additional district judges for the district of New Mexico;

(17) 2 additional district judges for the eastern district of New York;

(18) 1 additional district judge for the southern district of New York;

(19) 1 additional district judge for the western district of New York;

(20) 1 additional district judge for the district of Puerto Rico;

(21) 2 additional district judges for the eastern district of Texas;

(22) 2 additional district judges for the southern district of Texas; and

(23) 4 additional district judges for the western district of Texas.

(b) Existing judgeships.—As of the date of enactment of this Act, the following existing judgeships shall be authorized under section 133 of title 28, United States Code, and the incumbents in those offices shall hold the office under such section:

(1) The judgeships authorized by section 203(c) of the Judicial Improvements Act of 1990 (Public Law 101–650; 28 U.S.C. 133 note) for—

(A) the district of Kansas; and

(B) the eastern district of Missouri.

(2) The judgeships authorized by section 312(c) of the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act (Public Law 107–273; 28 U.S.C. 133 note) for—

(A) the district of Arizona;

(B) the central district of California;

(C) the southern district of Florida;

(D) the district of New Mexico;

(E) the western district of North Carolina; and

(F) the eastern district of Texas.

(c) Tables.—ln order that the table contained in section 133 of title 28, United States Code, will, with respect to each judicial district, reflect the changes in the total number of permanent district judgeships authorized as a result of subsections (a) and (b) of this section, such table is amended to read as follows:



DistrictsNumber of Judges
Alabama:
  Northern7
  Middle3
  Southern3
Alaska3
Arizona13
Arkansas:
  Eastern5
  Western3
California:
  Northern16
  Eastern11
  Central35
  Southern16
Colorado8
Connecticut8
Delaware5
District of Columbia15
Florida:
  Northern5
  Middle21
  Southern21
Georgia:
  Northern12
  Middle4
  Southern3
Hawaii3
Idaho3
  Illinois:
  Northern22
  Central4
  Southern4
Indiana:
  Northern5
  Southern6
Iowa:
  Northern2
  Southern3
Kansas6
Kentucky:
  Eastern5
  Western4
  Eastern and Western1
Louisiana:
  Eastern12
  Middle3
  Western7
Maine3
Maryland10
Massachusetts13
Michigan:
  Eastern15
  Western4
Minnesota8
Mississippi:
  Northern3
  Southern6
Missouri:
  Eastern7
  Western5
  Eastern and Western2
Montana3
Nebraska3
Nevada8
New Hampshire3
New Jersey20
New Mexico9
New York:
  Northern5
  Southern29
  Eastern17
  Western5
North Carolina:
  Eastern4
  Middle4
  Western5
North Dakota2
Ohio:
  Northern11
  Southern8
Oklahoma:
  Northern3
  Eastern1
  Western6
  Northern, Eastern, and Western1
Oregon6
Pennsylvania:
  Eastern22
  Middle6
  Western10
Puerto Rico8
Rhode Island3
South Carolina10
South Dakota3
Tennessee:
  Eastern5
  Middle4
  Western5
Texas:
  Northern12
  Southern21
  Eastern10
  Western17
Utah5
Vermont2
Virginia:
  Eastern11
  Western4
Washington:
  Eastern4
  Western7
West Virginia:
  Northern3
  Southern5
Wisconsin:
  Eastern5
  Western2
Wyoming3”.

(d) Designation of judges.—The chief judge of the eastern district of California shall designate 1 district judge whose official duty station shall be in Bakersfield, California and who shall hold court for such district in Bakersfield, California.

SEC. 102. Judicial districts of North Carolina.

(a) In general.—Section 113 of title 28, United States Code, is amended—

(1) in subsection (a), by striking “and Wilson and” and inserting “Wilson, those portions of Hoke, Moore, Scotland, and Richmond counties encompassing the Fort Bragg Military Reservation and Camp Mackall, and”; and

(2) by striking subsection (b) and inserting the following:

“(b) Middle district.—The Middle District comprises the counties of Alamance, Cabarrus, Caswell, Chatham, Davidson, Davie, Durham (excluding that portion of Durham County encompassing the Federal Correctional Institution, Butner, North Carolina), Forsyth, Guilford, Hoke (excluding that portion of Hoke County encompassing the Fort Bragg Military Reservation and Camp Mackall), Lee, Montgomery, Moore (excluding that portion of Moore County encompassing the Fort Bragg Military Reservation and Camp Mackall), Orange, Person, Randolph, Richmond (excluding that portion of Richmond County encompassing the Fort Bragg Military Reservation and Camp Mackall), Rockingham, Rowan, Scotland (excluding that portion of Scotland County encompassing the Fort Bragg Military Reservation and Camp Mackall), Stanly, Stokes, Surry, and Yadkin.”.

(b) Application.—The amendments made by subsection (a) shall not apply to any action commenced or pending in any judicial district of North Carolina before the date of enactment of this Act.

SEC. 103. Realignment of the eastern district of Arkansas.

Section 83(a) of title 28, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:

“Eastern District.

“(a) The Eastern District comprises three divisions.

“(1) The Central Division comprises the counties of Cleburne, Cleveland, Conway, Dallas, Drew, Faulkner, Grant, Jefferson, Lincoln, Lonoke, Perry, Pope Prairie, Pulaski, Saline, Stone, Van Buren, White, and Yell.

Court for the Central Division shall be held at Little Rock.

“(2) The Delta Division comprises the counties of Arkansas, Chicot, Crittenden, Desha, Lee, Monroe, Phillips, and St. Francis.

Court for the Delta Division shall be held at Helena.

“(3) The Northern Division comprises the counties of Clay, Craighead, Cross, Fulton, Greene, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Lawrence, Mississippi, Poinsett, Randolph, Sharp, and Woodruff.

Court for the Northern Division shall be held at Jonesboro.”.

SEC. 104. Construction project in the James M. Carter and Judith N. Keep U.S. Courthouse.

Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Administrator of General Services shall complete and submit to Congress a prospectus for a construction project in the James M. Carter and Judith N. Keep U.S. Courthouse in San Diego, California, which project shall consist of building two new district courtrooms and four magistrate judge chambers. Any limitation regarding the Carter-Keep Courthouse contained in previous authorizations should not apply to the prospectus required under this section.

SEC. 105. Federal courthouse in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

The Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts shall maintain a courthouse located in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

TITLE IIJudicial Operations

SEC. 201. Code of conduct for Federal judges.

(a) In general.—Chapter 57 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

§ 964. Code of conduct

“Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of the Judiciary ROOM Act of 2018, the Judicial Conference shall issue a code of conduct, which applies to each justice and judge of the United States, except that the code of conduct may include provisions that are applicable only to certain categories of judges or justices.”.

(b) Clerical amendment.—The table of sections for chapter 57 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by adding after the item related to section 963 the following:

“964. Code of conduct.”.

SEC. 202. Recusal of Supreme Court justices.

(a) In general.—Chapter 1 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

§ 7. Recusal

“The clerk of the Supreme Court shall ensure that for any matter for which a justice of the Supreme Court is recused, timely notice of such recusal is made publicly available on the website of the Supreme Court, along with an explanation for such recusal.”.

(b) Clerical amendment.—The table of sections for chapter 1 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by adding after the item related to section 6 the following:

“7. Recusal.”.

SEC. 203. Medical examinations for Federal judges.

(a) In general.—Chapter 21 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

§ 464. Medical examinations for justices and judges

“(a) In general.—Each justice or judge of the United States shall, at no expense to the judge or justice, undergo a medical examination by a physician—

“(1) in the case of a judge or justice who is 70 years of age or younger, every 5 years;

“(2) in the case of a judge or justice who is older than 70 years of age and younger than 81 years of age, every 2 years; and

“(3) in the case of a judge or justice who is 81 years of age or older, every year.

“(b) Confidentiality.—Except as provided in subsection (c), the results of a medical examination described in subsection (a) shall be confidential.

“(c) Exception.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, in the case that a physician conducting a medical examination described in subsection (a) identifies a condition that may impact the ability of the judge or justice to carry out the duties of judge or justice’s position, the physician shall submit such finding to the appropriate chief judge or justice. In the case that the condition described in the previous sentence relates to a chief judge, the physician shall submit the finding to the chief judge of the court with appellate jurisdiction over the court on which the judge sits.”.

(b) Clerical amendment.—The table of sections for chapter 21 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by adding after the item related to section 463 the following:

“464. Medical examinations for justices and judges. ”.

TITLE IIICourt Operations

SEC. 301. Video recording of court proceedings.

(a) Courts of appeals.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Chapter 3 of title 28, United States Code, as amended by this Act, is amended further by adding at the end the following:

§ 51. Internet streaming

“(a) In general.—Not later than the date described in subsection (b), the proceedings of each hearing of a court of appeals shall be made available for viewing on the internet through streaming video—

“(1) to the extent practicable, in real time during such hearing; and

“(2) for not less than 2 years after the conclusion of such hearing.

“(b) Date described.—The date described in the subsection is—

“(1) in the case of a court of appeals sitting en banc, one year after the date of the enactment of this section; and

“(2) in the case of a panel of a court of appeals (other than as described in paragraph (1)), 2 years after the date of the enactment of this section.

“(c) Exception.—The requirement under subsection (a) shall not apply in the case that the courtroom is closed to the public.

“(d) Partnership permitted.—The chief judge of a circuit may enter into a partnership with a television provider in order to comply with the requirement under subsection (a).

“(e) Copyright protection not available.—Video created pursuant to the requirement under this section shall be considered a work of the United States Government for purposes of section 105 of title 17.”.

(2) CLERICAL AMENDMENT.—The table of sections for chapter 3 of title 28, United States Code, as amended by this Act is further amended by inserting after the item related to section 50 the following:

“51. Internet streaming. ”.

(b) Supreme Court.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Chapter 1 of title 28, United States Code, as amended by this Act, is further amended by adding at the end the following:

§ 8. Internet streaming

“(a) In general.—Each oral argument before the Supreme Court shall be made available for listening on the internet through streaming audio—

“(1)(A) on the day of such oral argument, not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this section; and

“(B) in real time during such oral argument, not later than 2 years after the date of the enactment of this section; and

“(2) for not less than 2 years after the conclusion of such oral argument.

“(b) Exception.—The requirement under subsection (a) shall not apply in the case that the courtroom is closed to the public.

“(c) Copyright protection not available.—Video created pursuant to the requirement under this section shall be considered a work of the United States Government for purposes of section 105 of title 17.”.

(2) CLERICAL AMENDMENT.—The table of sections for chapter 1 of title 28, United States Code, as amended by this Act, is further amended by inserting after the item related to section 7 the following:

“8. Internet streaming. ”.

SEC. 302. Advisory Committee for Access to Court Broadcasts and Case Information.

(a) Establishment.—There is established an Advisory Committee for Access to Court Broadcasts and Case Information (referred to in this section as the “Committee”), which shall advise the Federal courts on the ways to improve public access to court broadcasts and court information.

(b) Membership.—Members of the Committee shall be appointed by the Executive Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts. In appointing such members, the Executive Director shall ensure that a wide range of interested parties are represented, including non-profit groups and individuals who focus on access to public information, news organizations, legal researchers, and commercial entities who commercialize court documents.

SEC. 303. PACER.

(a) Requirements for written opinions.—Each written opinion issued by a Federal court shall be—

(1) stored on the Public Access to Court Electronic Records system in a format that is machine-readable and searchable by date;

(2) citable using a vendor-neutral and medium-neutral citations system; and

(3) made available to the Government Publishing Office.

(b) Electronic Public Access to Exhibits in Federal Cases.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act, and except as provided in paragraph (2), the Judicial Conference of the United States shall establish a pilot program to ensure that exhibits in Federal cases before 5 Federal courts selected by the Judicial Conference and any additional Federal district court that elects to participate are accessible through such online portal as the Judicial Conference may designate for the pilot program established under this subsection.

(2) EXEMPTION FROM ELECTRONIC PUBLIC ACCESS.—This subsection shall not apply to the following exhibits:

(A) Exhibits that cannot be digitized.

(B) Exhibits concerning matters that are exempt from disclosure under section 552(b) of title 5, United States Code.

(C) Exhibits exempt from disclosure under Rule 25(a)(5) of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure.

(D) Exhibits exempt from disclosure under Rule 5.2 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

(E) Exhibits exempt from disclosure under Rule 49.1 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.

(F) Exhibits exempt from disclosure under Rule 9037 of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure.

(G) Exhibits that have been sealed by the presiding judge.

(H) Exhibits that a presiding judge determines the public disclosure of which would likely interfere with a fair trial or otherwise the due administration of justice.

(I) Exhibits that are otherwise exempt from public disclosure under any other provision of Federal or State law.

(3) APPLICABILITY OF EXEMPTION.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—The determination of the applicability of paragraph (2) to an exhibit shall be made by the presiding judge. With respect to the applicability of the exemption described in subparagraph (B), (C), (D), (E), or (F) of paragraph (2), the presiding judge must determine that it is reasonably foreseeable that the disclosure of the exhibit would harm an interest protected by the relevant provision.

(B) REDACTED EXHIBITS.—With respect to an exhibit exempted from disclosure under paragraph (2)(B), any reasonably segregable portion of the exhibit shall be made available on the online portal established under paragraph (1), in accordance with the procedures described at the end of section 552(b) of title 5, United States Code.

(C) DESCRIPTIVE NOTATION.—With respect to an exhibit exempted from disclosure under subparagraph (A), (B), (C), (D), (E), (F), or (I) of paragraph (2), a descriptive notation of the exhibit shall be made available, consistent with any requirement under law regarding limitation on disclosure, on the online portal established under paragraph (1).

(4) RULEMAKING.—The Judicial Conference of the United States may promulgate such regulations as may be necessary to implement this subsection.

(5) DEFINITIONS.—For purposes of this subsection:

(A) DIGITIZED.—The term “digitized” means converted into a digital form that can be processed by a computer.

(B) EXHIBIT.—The term “exhibit” means a document, record, or other tangible object introduced as evidence during a trial, and that, in accordance with the Federal Rules of Evidence, is identified or authenticated, and admitted into the record, and does not include any portion of such document, record, or tangible object that was not so admitted.

(C) PRESIDING JUDGE.—The term “presiding judge” means the magistrate or judge presiding over the court proceeding concerned. In proceedings in which more than 1 judge participates, the presiding judge shall be the senior active judge so participating or, in the case of a circuit court of appeals, the senior active circuit judge so participating, except that in en banc sittings of any United States circuit court of appeals, the presiding judge shall be the chief judge of the circuit whenever the chief judge participates.

(6) TERMINATION; REPORT.—

(A) TERMINATION.—This subsection and the pilot program established under this subsection shall terminate on the date that is 4 years after the date of enactment of this Act.

(B) REPORT.—Not later than one year after the termination of the pilot program established under this subsection, the Federal Judicial Center shall submit to the Judicial Conference of the United States, Congress, and any other appropriate Federal agency or office, a report that contains the results of the pilot program, along with any recommendations for improving public electronic access to Federal court exhibits.


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