oversight

Federal Judiciary: Information on the Use of Recalled Magistrate and Bankruptcy Judges

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1999-01-15.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                United States General Accounting Office

GAO             Report to the Honorable
                Jack Reed, U.S. Senate



January 1999
                FEDERAL JUDICIARY
                Information on the
                Use of Recalled
                Magistrate and
                Bankruptcy Judges




GAO/GGD-99-22
GAO                United States
                   General Accounting Office
                   Washington, D.C. 20548

                   General Government Division



                   B-280364

                   January 15, 1999

                   Honorable Jack Reed
                   United States Senate

                   Dear Senator Reed:

                   As you requested, this report discusses the federal judiciary’s use of
                   recalled magistrate judges and bankruptcy judges. Recalled judges are
                   retired magistrate and bankruptcy judges who, with their consent, return
                   to judicial duties for a specified period of time. The use of recalled judges
                   is one option district courts and bankruptcy courts have for obtaining
                   temporary judicial assistance when they are experiencing a temporary
                   workload increase, have one or more judgeship vacancies, or for other
                            1
                   reasons.

                   Specifically, as agreed with your office, our objectives were to determine
                   (1) whether the demand for recalled magistrate and bankruptcy judges has
                   exceeded the number of judges available to serve in recalled positions, (2)
                   whether the courts that recalled judges had judgeship vacancies and/or
                                                              2
                   higher than average weighted case filings, and (3) the approximate 1-year
                   cost savings associated with using a recalled judge rather than filling a full-
                   time judgeship position.

                   During the period from October 1, 1989, through April 30, 1998, all of the
Results in Brief   district courts and all but one of the bankruptcy courts whose requests for
                                                                                       3
                   recalled judges had been approved by the circuit judicial councils were
                                                                   4
                   able to obtain the services of a recalled judge. During this period, 25 of the
                   1
                    The courts can also use visiting judges from other districts. Visiting judges are usually active
                   (nonretired) judges from other courts who are assigned to provide assistance to a requesting court for
                   a specified period of time. Visiting judges may be from within the same judicial circuit as the requesting
                   court (intracircuit assignments) or from outside the judicial circuit (intercircuit assignments). District
                   courts and bankruptcy courts are organized in 12 geographic circuits whose boundaries are defined by
                   statute. There is also a court of appeals for the federal circuit, but this circuit has no role in magistrate
                   and bankruptcy judge recalls.
                   2
                    Weighted case filings represent a measure of the average amount of judicial time that a district or
                   bankruptcy court’s filings may require.
                   3
                    Each circuit has a Judicial Council of the Circuit that is statutorily charged with making all necessary
                   and appropriate orders for the effective and expeditious administration of justice within the circuit.
                   The council consists of equal numbers of active court of appeals judges and active district court judges
                   within the circuit, plus the chief judge of the circuit, who is the presiding officer.
                   4
                    Administrative Office of the U.S. Court’s (AOUSC) data excluded recall appointments made on or
                   after October 1 that expired prior to September 30 in each fiscal year, from 1990 to 1997. AOUSC’s data
                   also excluded any recall appointments made on or after October 1, 1997, that expired prior to April 30,
                   1998. Thus, these data may have excluded some short-term appointments that expired prior to the end




                   Page 1                                                                GAO/GGD-99-22 Recalled Judges
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92 district courts with magistrate judges and 33 of the 90 bankruptcy
courts used at least 1 retired magistrate or bankruptcy judge. The single
bankruptcy court whose approved request was not filled had requested the
appointment of two recalled bankruptcy judges in 1993. One appointment
was made, and data were not available on why the second appointment
was not made. One possible reason is that Congress had authorized two
additional bankruptcy judgeships for this court in 1992.

In considering whether the demand for recalled judges exceeded the
number of judges available to serve in recall appointments, it is important
to note that the 111 recalled magistrate judge appointments and the 159
recalled bankruptcy judge appointments were filled by a relatively small
number of eligible judges who were often reappointed to their recalled
positions one or more times. A total of 96 magistrate judges and 60
bankruptcy judges were eligible for recall for at least part of the period
covered by our review. The recall appointments were filled by 33 separate
retired magistrate judges and 43 separate retired bankruptcy judges.

District courts or bankruptcy courts that recalled judges showed no clear
pattern of judgeship vacancies, and bankruptcy courts that recalled judges
showed no clear pattern of weighted case filings. Some district courts or
bankruptcy courts used recalled judges for at least a portion of the time
the court had a magistrate judgeship or bankruptcy judgeship vacancy,
while other district courts or bankruptcy courts with magistrate judgeship
or bankruptcy judgeship vacancies did not use recalled judges.

The bankruptcy courts that used recalled judges during the period of our
review had widely varying weighted case filings. For those bankruptcy
courts that recalled bankruptcy judges, the weighted case filings ranged
from 619 to 2,144 per bankruptcy judgeship in fiscal year 1992 and from
639 to 2,321 in fiscal year 1997. National average weighted filings per
bankruptcy judgeship were 1,437 in fiscal year 1992 and 1,436 in fiscal year
1997.

The Judicial Conference has not adopted case weight measures for
magistrate judges. However, at your request, we are providing information
on district court weighted case filings, which were developed to measure
the case filings workload of district judges, not magistrate judges.



of the fiscal year. However, both AOUSC officials and the circuit executives we interviewed said the
data we received would have excluded few recalls because there have been few recall appointments of
less than 1 year.




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             According to Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (AOUSC) data,
             recalled magistrate and bankruptcy judges are less costly than full-time
             nonretired judges. The estimated fiscal year 1999 annual recurring cost of
             a full-time nonretired magistrate judge is about $602,000, and the cost of a
             full-time bankruptcy judge is about $575,000. These costs include the
             salaries and benefits of the judge and his or her support staff, space,
             equipment, and facilities. In contrast, AOUSC data indicated that the
             average annual cost of a recalled magistrate judge ranged from about
             $87,000 to about $253,000. The average annual cost of a recalled
             bankruptcy judge ranged from about $93,000 to about $241,000. The lower
             cost figures represent the average annual cost of a recalled magistrate or
             bankruptcy judge who retired at full salary and whose sole personal staff is
             a full-time secretary. The higher cost figures represent a recalled
             magistrate or bankruptcy judge who did not retire at full salary, earns
             about $32,000 annually while on recall, and has a full staff.

             Ninety-two of the 94 federal district courts include district court judges
Background                            5
             and magistrate judges. District court judges generally are appointed for
                 6
             life and exercise the full range of judicial authority vested in the district
             courts. Magistrate judges are appointed for a fixed term of years to either
                                          7
             full- or part-time positions. Magistrate judges exercise the judicial duties
             permissible by statute and the Constitution that the district courts delegate
             to them. Generally, a district court assigns magistrate judges all
                                            8
             misdemeanor criminal cases and the conduct of preliminary proceedings
                                        9
             in felony criminal cases. In civil cases, magistrate judges may also
             supervise pretrial proceedings. In addition, with the consent of the parties
             in the case, magistrate judges may preside over all phases of a civil suit,
             including trial, and render a decision in the case.




             5
              The district courts in the U.S. territories of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands do not have
             magistrate judges.
             6
              Judges appointed to the district courts in the U.S. territories of Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands,
             and the Virgin Islands are appointed for 10-year terms.
             7
              Full-time magistrate judges are appointed for 8-year terms and part-time magistrate judges for 4-year
             terms.
             8
                 Generally, those federal crimes that carry a maximum penalty of imprisonment of 1 year or less.
             9
                 Generally, those federal crimes that carry a maximum penalty of imprisonment of more than 1 year.




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              With some exceptions, the 90 federal bankruptcy courts preside over all
                                                          10
              bankruptcy cases filed in the United States. Bankruptcy judges are
              appointed for 14-year terms and are appointed only to full-time positions.

              Eligible retired magistrate and bankruptcy judges may be recalled to
              judicial service with their consent. With a few exceptions, all retired
              magistrate and bankruptcy judges are eligible for recall. Retired magistrate
              and bankruptcy judges who receive an annuity under the Judicial
              Retirement System (JRS) and elect to practice law are not eligible for
              recall. Retired magistrate judges who did not retire under JRS, and have
              elected to practice law after retirement, may continue to practice law if
              recalled for part-time service, but they may not continue to practice law if
              recalled to full-time service.

              The decision to seek the appointment of a recalled judge rests with the
              district court or bankruptcy court that determines it needs the services of
              a recalled judge. The circuit judicial council must approve the request,
              specify the calendar period of the recall, specify whether the appointment
              is for full-time or part-time service, and determine the personal support
              staff, if any, that the recalled judge may have. Additional information on
              the recall process can be found in appendix I.

              Recalled judges are paid a salary that represents the difference between
              their retirement pensions and the full salary of the office to which they
              were recalled. For example, a bankruptcy judge who retired in fiscal year
              1998 with a pension of $80,000 and was recalled to full-time service in the
              same fiscal year would receive annual wages of $45,764. This is the
              difference between the judge’s pension and the $125,764 fiscal year 1998
              salary of an active bankruptcy judge. A recalled judge who had retired at
              full salary would receive no additional compensation for recall service.
              Appendix II provides additional information on the conditions and
              compensation of recall judges.

              Our objectives were to determine (1) whether the demand for recalled
Scope and     magistrate and bankruptcy judges has exceeded the number of judges
Methodology   available to serve in recalled positions, (2) whether the district and
              bankruptcy courts that recalled judges had judgeship vacancies and/or
              higher than average weighted case filings, and (3) the approximate 1-year
              cost savings associated with using a recalled judge rather than filling a full-

              10
                 By statute, the district courts retain original jurisdiction over bankruptcy cases. However, with few
              exceptions, the district courts have adopted a policy of referring all bankruptcy matters to the
              bankruptcy courts within their respective districts.




              Page 4                                                              GAO/GGD-99-22 Recalled Judges
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                        time judgeship position. Our review covered the use of recalled magistrate
                        and bankruptcy judges during the period October 1, 1989, through April 30,
                        1998. We obtained most of the data needed to address our objectives
                        through AOUSC. We requested data by district on the number of retired
                        and recalled magistrate judges and bankruptcy judges, including data by
                        district on the number of retired magistrate and bankruptcy judges who
                        were eligible for recall each year and the number of eligible judges who
                        were actually recalled each year. We reviewed the data AOUSC provided
                        for internal consistency by choosing a judgmental sample of retired and
                        recalled judges, tracing the data back to source documents, and verifying
                        that the data provided matched the data in the source documents. Our
                        judgmental sample included retired and recalled judges from different
                        fiscal years and geographically dispersed district and bankruptcy courts.

                        We requested data for the same period for magistrate and bankruptcy
                        judgeship vacancies in those district and bankruptcy courts that recalled
                        judges. We requested the weighted case filings of the 94 district courts and
                        90 bankruptcy courts for fiscal years 1990 through 1997.

                        We obtained written comments on a draft of this report from AOUSC.
                        These comments are discussed at the end of this letter and are reprinted in
                        appendix VI .

                        Our work was performed from May 1998 to December 1998 in accordance
                        with generally accepted government auditing standards. Our objectives,
                        scope, and methodology are described in more detail in appendix III.

                        A minority of district and bankruptcy courts used recalled judges during
Data on the Use of      the period covered by our review (October 1, 1989, through April 30, 1998).
Recalled Magistrate                         11
                        During this period, 25 of the 92 district courts with magistrate judges
and Bankruptcy Judges   (27.2 percent) and 33 of the 90 bankruptcy courts (36.7 percent) recalled at
                        least 1 judge (see figs. 1 and 2). However, at least 1 district court and 1
                        bankruptcy court in each of the 12 regional circuits had recalled a judge
                        during this period.




                        11
                          Data on recalled judges are as of September 30 for fiscal years 1990 through 1997, and April 30, 1998,
                        for fiscal year 1998.




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Figure 1: Twenty Five District Courts, by Circuit, That Had a Recalled Magistrate Judge on Duty at the End of One or More
Fiscal Years, 1990-1997, or as of April 30 1998

                                                                                                                                                                               Puerto
                                                                                                                                                                                Rico        1

            W
                 E                        9
                  WA                                                                8                                                                                 2                   ME
                                                                                                                                       6                                  VT
                                 MT                                                                                                                               N                NH
                                                                       ND
             OR                                                                                                                    W                              NY
                                                                                        MN                                                                W                CT
                          ID                                                                                                                                          S
                                                                                                          W   WI
                                                                       SD                                                                        E                         NY-E        MA RI
        E                                                                                                         E                         W
                                                                                        N
                                                                                                                       7                        MI                             M
                                                                                                                                                          N
                                                                                                                                                                                           3
                                                                                             IA                   N                                                        PA      E
                     NV                        WY                      NE                                                  N                                      W
                                                                                                                                                                                         NJ
                                                                                        S                                                            OH
    N                                                                                                         C   IL       IN                        S
            CA                                                                                                         S                                                           DE     Virgin
                                                                                                                                                KY                                       Islands
                                          UT                                                 MO                   S
                                                                                                                                                     E
                                                CO                                                    E                                 W                         4 MD
                                                                                             W                                              M    E
                  C                                                   KS                                                               TN
                          AZ                                                                W
                                                                                                      E
                                                                                                                                   W                              N
                                                                                                                                                                                          D.C.
                 S                                                                                                                                            WV           E
                                                                       N                         AR                                                           S                          Circuit
                                                                  W         E
                                                                                                                                                                      W    VA
                                               NM            10            OK                                                   11                                    M        E         Federal
                                                                                                                                                              W
                                                                                                                                        N                                  NC            Circuit
                                                                                                                               N
                                                                                                                                                                  SC
                                                                                                                           AL
                                                                                    5                                                   GA
                                                                                                      N                                M M       S
                                                                                                                           S
                                                                  N                                                                     N
                          9                                                                                                                          M
                                                                                             W    MS
                                                                                E       LA                                                           FL
                                                                      TX                              S
                                                         W                                   M
                AK                                                                                E                                                       S
                               HI
                                                                       S




                 Guam          Northern
                               Mariana
                                Islands

                                                                                         C, M, N, W, S, E = State districts


                                                                                                          Districts that recalled at least one magistrate judge




                                                Note: C = central; M = middle; N = northern; W = western; S = southern; E = eastern
                                                Source: GAO analysis of AOUSC data.




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Figure 2: Thirty-Three Bankruptcy Courts, by Circuit, That Had a Recalled Bankruptcy Judge on Duty at the End of One or
More Fiscal Years, 1990-1997, or as of April 30, 1998

                                                                                                                                                                              Puerto
                                                                                                                                                                               Rico        1

           W
                E                        9
                 WA                                                                8                                                                                 2                   ME
                                                                                                                                      6                                  VT
                                MT                                                                                                                               N                NH
                                                                      ND
            OR                                                                                                                    W                              NY
                                                                                       MN                                                                W                CT
                         ID                                                                                                                                          S
                                                                                                         W   WI
                                                                      SD                                                                        E                         NY-E        MA RI
       E                                                                                                         E                         W
                                                                                       N
                                                                                                                      7                        MI                             M
                                                                                                                                                         N
                                                                                                                                                                                          3
                                                                                            IA                   N                                                        PA      E
                    NV                        WY                      NE                                                  N                                      W
                                                                                                                                                                                        NJ
                                                                                       S                                                            OH
   N                                                                                                         C   IL       IN                        S
           CA                                                                                                         S                                                           DE     Virgin
                                                                                                                                               KY                                       Islands
                                         UT                                                 MO                   S
                                                                                                                                                    E
                                               CO                                                    E                                 W                         4 MD
                                                                                            W                                              M    E
                 C                                                   KS                                                               TN
                         AZ                                                                W
                                                                                                     E
                                                                                                                                  W                              N
                                                                                                                                                                                         D.C.
                S                                                                                                                                            WV           E
                                                                      N                         AR                                                           S                          Circuit
                                                                 W         E
                                                                                                                                                                     W    VA
                                              NM            10            OK                                                   11                                    M        E         Federal
                                                                                                                                                             W
                                                                                                                                       N                                  NC            Circuit
                                                                                                                              N
                                                                                                                                                                 SC
                                                                                                                          AL
                                                                                   5                                                   GA
                                                                                                     N                                M M       S
                                                                                                                          S
                                                                 N                                                                     N
                         9                                                                                                                          M
                                                                                            W    MS
                                                                               E       LA
                                                                     TX                              S
                                                                                                                                                    FL
                                                        W                                   M
               AK                                                                                E                                                       S
                              HI
                                                                      S




                Guam          Northern
                              Mariana
                               Islands

                                                                                        C, M, N, W, S, E = State districts


                                                                                                         Districts that recalled at least one bankruptcy judge




                                               Note: C = central; M = middle; N = northern; W = western; S = southern; E = eastern
                                               Source: GAO analysis of AOUSC data.




                                               Page 7                                                                                          GAO/GGD-99-22 Recalled Judges
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                             The 25 district courts that recalled magistrate judges appointed eligible
                             judges to a total of 111 magistrate judge recall positions. The 33
                             bankruptcy courts had a total 159 bankruptcy judge recall appointments.
                             All of the district courts and all but one of the bankruptcy courts whose
                             requests for recalled judges had been approved during this period were
                             able to obtain the services of a recalled judge. In 1993, the circuit council
                             had approved two bankruptcy judge recall appointments for one
                             bankruptcy court, but only one appointment was made. Data were not
                             available on why the second appointment was not made. One possible
                             reason is that Congress had authorized two additional bankruptcy court
                             judgeships for this court in 1992.

                             The total number of recalled magistrate judge appointments by a single
                             district over the entire period ranged from 1 to 12. The number of district
                             courts with one or more recalled magistrate judges on duty at the end of
                             the fiscal year increased annually, from 4 in fiscal year 1990 to 16 in fiscal
                             year 1997. The number of recalled magistrate judges on duty at the end of
                             the fiscal year also grew each year (except for 1997). Data by fiscal year
                             and district are shown in appendix IV, table IV.1.

                             The total number of recalled bankruptcy judge appointments by a single
                             bankruptcy court over the period ranged from 1 to 9. The number of
                             bankruptcy courts with recalled judges on duty at the end of the fiscal year
                             ranged from 10 (fiscal years 1990, 1991, and 1993) to 25 (as of April 30 in
                             fiscal year 1998). The number of recalled bankruptcy judges on duty at the
                             end of the fiscal year more than doubled by the end of fiscal year 1994 (to
                             23) from the levels it had been in fiscal years 1990, 1991, and 1993. Since
                             the end of fiscal year 1994, the number of recalled bankruptcy judges has
                             remained relatively stable. Additional details are shown in appendix IV,
                             table IV.2.

Number of Eligible Retired   Since fiscal year 1990, the number of retired magistrate and bankruptcy
                             judges and the number of those retired judges who were eligible for recall
Judges Has Exceeded the      has grown annually. Each fiscal year during the period covered by our
Number Who Were Recalled     review, at least 80 percent of retired magistrate judges were eligible for
                             recall. In all but 2 fiscal years, 100 percent of retired bankruptcy judges
                             were eligible for recall. For each year covered by our data, the number of
                             magistrate and bankruptcy judges eligible for recall has exceeded the
                             number of judges actually recalled. It must be noted, however, that eligible
                             retired judges may be recalled only with their consent, and not all eligible
                             judges may be willing to accept a recall appointment. The percentage of
                             eligible retired magistrate judges who were recalled ranged from about 16
                             percent at the end of fiscal year 1992 to about 24 percent at the end of



                             Page 8                                             GAO/GGD-99-22 Recalled Judges
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                                            fiscal year 1996 (see table 1). The percentage of eligible retired bankruptcy
                                            judges who were recalled ranged from about 33 percent at the end of fiscal
                                            year 1993 to about 56 percent at the end of fiscal year 1990 (see table 2).
                                            The number of bankruptcy courts that recalled bankruptcy judges jumped
                                            sharply in fiscal year 1994 and has remained relatively stable since then.


Table 1: Magistrate Judges in Retirement Status, Eligible for Recall, and Actually Recalled; and Number of Districts That
Recalled Judges, as of September 30, 1990-1997, and April 30, 1998
                                                                                               a
                                    Number of                                       Percentage of                     Number of
                       Judges in     Retired judges Eligible judges           Retired judges     Retired judges     districts that
Date            retirement status eligible for recall         recalled     eligible for recall          recalled recalled judges
09-30-90                       23                 19                 4                     83                 21                 4
09-30-91                       37                 30                 6                     81                 20                 6
09-30-92                       51                 44                 7                     86                 16                 7
09-30-93                       57                 49                 9                     86                 18                 9
09-30-94                       71                 60                13                     85                 22                11
09-30-95                       87                 73                16                     84                 22                12
09-30-96                      100                 83                20                     83                 24                15
09-30-97                      112                 92                18                     82                 20                16
04-30-98                      119                 96                18                     81                 19                14
                                            a
                                            Rounded to nearest whole number.
                                            Source: GAO analysis of AOUSC data.



Table 2: Bankruptcy Judges in Retirement Status, Eligible for Recall, and Actually Recalled; and Number of Courts That
Recalled Judges, as of September 30, 1990-1997, and April 30, 1998
                                                                                               a
                                    Number of                                       Percentage of                     Number of
                        Judges in    Retired judges Eligible judges           Retired judges     Retired judges     districts that
Date            retirement status eligible for recall       recalled       eligible for recall          recalled recalled judges
09-30-90                       18                 18              10                      100                 56                10
09-30-91                       22                 22              10                      100                 46                10
09-30-92                       27                 27              12                      100                 44                11
09-30-93                       35                 33              11                       94                 33                10
09-30-94                       42                 42              23                      100                 55                21
09-30-95                       47                 47              24                      100                 51                22
09-30-96                       50                 50              22                      100                 44                21
09-30-97                       55                 55              22                      100                 40                22
04-30-98                       61                 60              25                       98                 42                25
                                            a
                                            Rounded to nearest whole number.
                                            Source: GAO analysis of AOUSC data.




                                            Page 9                                                 GAO/GGD-99-22 Recalled Judges
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The Majority of Recalled   The majority of recalled magistrate and bankruptcy judges have served
                           annual (ad hoc) terms rather than extended recall terms (which are
Judges Have Served                                          12
                           generally 3-year appointments). Further, the majority of the judges who
Multiple Recall Terms      were recalled served more than one term. As a result, the number of
                           recalled judge appointments exceeded the number of retired judges who
                           filled these appointments. The 111 recalled magistrate judge appointments
                           were filled by 33 separate retired magistrate judges. The 159 recalled
                           bankruptcy judge appointments were filled by 43 separate retired
                           bankruptcy judges.

                           Analysis of the data by fiscal year shows that a majority of recalled judges
                           served more than one annual appointment. For example, of the 18 retired
                           magistrate judges who were serving recall duty on September 30, 1997, 17
                           were serving on an ad hoc basis, and 13 of the 18 recalled judges had also
                           served in the previous year. Of the 22 retired bankruptcy judges who were
                           serving recall duty on the same date, 17 were serving on an ad hoc basis,
                           and 20 of the 22 recalled judges had also served in the previous year. (For
                           details by fiscal year, see app. IV, tables IV.3 and IV.4.)

                           District and bankruptcy courts may request a recalled judge for a variety of
Reasons for Using          reasons, such as temporarily high case filings, judgeship vacancies, or the
Recalled Judges Varied     illness of an active judge that temporarily reduces his or her ability to carry
                           a full caseload. AOUSC officials and circuit executives noted that
                           temporarily high case filings and judgeship vacancies were the two most
                           common reasons for requesting recalled judges. Our analysis of AOUSC’s
                           data showed that some courts had judgeship vacancies and/or weighted
                           case filings above the national average at the same time that they had a
                           recalled judge. However, we found no clear pattern with regard to
                           judgeship vacancies or weighted case filings among those courts that used
                           recalled judges.

Comments of Circuit        We spoke with the circuit executives or their representatives in the 12
                           regional judicial circuits concerning the use of recalled magistrate and
Executives on Recalled                          13
                           bankruptcy judges. Overall, these officials told us that the circuits neither
Judge Appointments         encourage nor discourage the use of recalled judges. Rather, the circuit
                           councils generally review each request for a recalled judge on a case-by-
                           case basis in light of the Judicial Conference’s guidelines and regulations
                           on the use of recalled judges and any circuit standards. Generally the

                           12
                             To be eligible for an extended recall appointment, a magistrate or bankruptcy judge must be at least
                           age 65 and have retired under JRS including “hybrid” JRS. See app. II.
                           13
                            There is also a court of appeals for the “federal circuit,” but this circuit has no district or bankruptcy
                           courts.




                           Page 10                                                              GAO/GGD-99-22 Recalled Judges
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                             circuits have no written criteria, in addition to those of the Judicial
                             Conference, for reviewing recalled judge requests. Two circuits had
                             drafted general guidelines for recalled appointments, and the First Circuit
                             required the requesting district to fill out an information sheet justifying its
                             recall request.

                             Documentation the circuit executives provided showed that since 1990
                             appointments were made for all approved requests for recalled judges,
                             with one exception. An appointment was not made for one approved
                             recalled bankruptcy judge request. The bankruptcy court whose recall
                             appointment was not made had requested the appointment of two recalled
                             judges in 1993. The circuit council approved the court’s request for both
                             appointments, but only one recalled judge was actually appointed. Data
                             were not available on why this second approved position was not filled.
                             One possible reason is that Congress had authorized two additional
                             bankruptcy judgeships for this court in 1992.

                             The circuit executives stated that few recalled judges are recalled for
                             terms of less than 1 year and that some circuits have a general policy that
                             appointments must be for at least 1 year. However, the officials noted that
                             in most cases the circuits first consider the use of active judges from
                             within and then outside the circuit (that is, intracircuit and intercircuit
                             assignments) before requesting the assistance of recalled judges. The
                             executives also said that when assistance from active judges is not
                             available, recalled judges offer experienced assistance.

No Clear Pattern Between     Based on data provided by AOUSC, we found no clear pattern in judgeship
                             vacancies among the district and bankruptcy courts that used recalled
Judgeship Vacancies and      judges (see table 3). For example, of the 25 districts that recalled at least 1
the Use of Recalled Judges   magistrate judge during the period covered in our review, 10 recalled a
                             magistrate judge during the same period that they experienced judgeship
                             vacancies. Further, of the 25 districts that recalled at least 1 magistrate
                             judge during the period of our review, 8 experienced judgeship vacancies
                             but did not recall a magistrate judge during the time the vacancies existed.
                             Four district courts appointed recalled magistrate judges when the court
                             had both a judgeship vacancy and weighted case filings above the national
                             average.




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Table 3: Number of District and
                                                                  Magistrate Judges                 Bankruptcy Judges
Bankruptcy Courts That Had Recalled
Judges, and the Number of Judgeship                            Number of Number of districts Number of courts Number of courts
Vacancies in These Courts, as of                              districts that    with judgeship  that recalled    with judgeship
                                         Date              recalled judges          vacancies         judges         vacancies
September 30, 1990-1997, and April 30,
1998                                     09-30-90                          4                       0                    10                       2
                                         09-30-91                          6                       0                    10                       4
                                         09-30-92                          7                       0                    11                       6
                                         09-30-93                          9                       2                    10                       8
                                         09-30-94                         11                       2                    21                      11
                                         09-30-95                         12                       1                    22                       8
                                         09-30-96                         15                       2                    21                      11
                                         09-30-97                         16                       2                    22                      11
                                         04-30-98                         14                       1                    25                      10
                                          Source: GAO analysis of AOUSC data.


                                          The data were similar for bankruptcy judges. For example, of the 33
                                          districts that recalled at least 1 bankruptcy judge during the period
                                          covered in our review, only 15 recalled a bankruptcy judge during the same
                                          period they experienced the judgeship vacancies. Further, of the 33
                                          districts that recalled at least 1 bankruptcy judge during the period of our
                                          review, 22 experienced judgeship vacancies but did not recall a bankruptcy
                                                                                         14
                                          judge during the time the vacancies existed. Thirteen bankruptcy courts
                                          had bankruptcy judgeship vacancies at the same time the courts had one
                                          or more recalled judges. Six of these courts had both a bankruptcy
                                          judgeship vacancy and weighted case filings above the national average in
                                          at least one fiscal year in which the court recalled a bankruptcy judge.

Weighted Case Filings of                  Based on our analysis of AOUSC’s data on recalled bankruptcy judges and
                                                                                     15
                                          bankruptcy courts’ weighted case filings, we found no clear pattern of
Courts that Recalled                      weighted case filings among those bankruptcy courts that recalled judges
Bankruptcy Judges Varied                  during the period of our review. While some bankruptcy courts with
Widely                                    comparatively high weighted case filings recalled judges, other bankruptcy
                                          courts with similarly high weighted case filings did not. Alternatively, a
                                          number of bankruptcy courts with comparatively low weighted case filings
                                          used recalled bankruptcy judges on a consistent basis. Although we have
                                          provided the district court weighted case filings in this report for
                                          informational purposes, it is not clear, for the reasons discussed below,
                                          14
                                             These categories are not mutually exclusive. Four districts recalled a bankruptcy judge in one year
                                          when the district had a judgeship vacancy but did not in another year that it had a judgeship vacancy.
                                          15
                                             Weighted case filings were not available for fiscal years 1990, 1991, and 1993 for bankruptcy courts.
                                          Although weighted case filings for these years were available for statistical years ending June 30 and
                                          calendar years ending December 31, we did not use these data because they would not be comparable
                                          to the fiscal year data provided for other years.




                                          Page 12                                                            GAO/GGD-99-22 Recalled Judges
                                          B-280364




                                          what, if any, relationship exists between these weighted case filings and
                                          magistrate judge workload.

                                          The Judicial Conference has adopted weighted case filings measures for
                                          both district and bankruptcy courts. Weighted case filings represent a
                                          measure of the relative amount of judge time that a district or bankruptcy
                                          court’s case filings may require. It is useful to remember that the case
                                          weights for both district and bankruptcy courts represent averages, and
                                          the actual amount of judge time required for any specific mix of cases may
                                          vary from court to court. In assessing district judge or bankruptcy judge
                                          workload, the Judicial Conference uses weighted case filings per
                                          authorized judgeship. Authorized judgeships are the number of district or
                                          bankruptcy judgeships authorized by statute. To determine a bankruptcy
                                          or district court’s weighted case filings per authorized judgeship, the
                                          court’s total weighted filings are divided by its number of authorized
                                          judgeships. For example, a district with 4,000 weighted filings and 10
                                          authorized judgeships would have 400 weighted filings per authorized
                                          judgeship.

Bankruptcy courts’ weighted               Bankruptcy court weighted case filings were developed to measure the
case filings varied widely                workload of bankruptcy judges. The average weighted case filings for
                                          those bankruptcy courts that recalled bankruptcy judges varied among the
                                          districts each year and across the years covered by our review. For
                                          example, the weighted case filings of courts that recalled bankruptcy
                                          judges ranged from 619 to 2,144 per bankruptcy court judgeship in fiscal
                                          year 1992 and from 639 to 2,321 in fiscal year 1997 (see table 4). The
                                          average among all 90 bankruptcy courts was 1,437 in 1992 and 1,436 in
                                          1997. (See app. V, table V.2, for details on weighted case filings, by
                                          bankruptcy district, for each fiscal year.)

Table 4: Range of Weighted Case
Filings for Those Bankruptcy Courts                         Number of districts        Range of weighted case filings
                                                        a
That Recalled Judges Compared to          Fiscal year         recalling judges Low district   High district National average
National Average, Fiscal Years 1992 and   1992                               11        619           2,144             1,437
1994-1997                                 1994                               21        507           2,084             1,227
                                          1995                               22        536           1,843             1,149
                                          1996                               21        544           1,729             1,272
                                          1997                               22        639           2,321             1,436
                                          a
                                          Weighted case filings not available for fiscal years 1990, 1991, and 1993.
                                          Source: GAO analysis of AOUSC data.




                                          Page 13                                                          GAO/GGD-99-22 Recalled Judges
                                            B-280364




District court weighted case                The district court case weights measure the workload of district court
filings not designed to measure             judges, not magistrate judges. The Conference has not adopted a weighted
magistrate judge workload                   workload measure for magistrate judges. To the extent that the work of
                                            magistrate judges reduced the time that district judges must spend on
                                            specific types of cases, the reduction in district judge time would be
                                            reflected in the district court case weights for those types of cases. Some
                                            types of cases, such as criminal misdemeanors, which are commonly
                                            decided by magistrate judges, are not reflected in the district court case
                                            weights at all.

                                            The average weighted case filings for those districts that recalled
                                            magistrate judges varied among the districts each year and across the
                                            years covered by our review. For information purposes, the high and low
                                            ranges, plus the national average weighted case filings are shown in table
                                            5. (See app. V, table V.1, for details on weighted case filings, by district, for
                                            each fiscal year. However, it is not clear what use these data may have in
                                            assessing magistrate judge workload.

Table 5: Range of Weighted Case
Filings for Those Districts That Recalled                     Number of districts       Range of weighted case filings
Magistrate Judges Compared to               Fiscal year         recalling judges Low district High district National average
National Average, Fiscal Years 1990-        1990                                4        412           695               427
1997                                        1991                                6        338           507               386
                                            1992                                7        356           506               412
                                            1993                                9        382           522               419
                                            1994                               11        377           560               419
                                            1995                               12        264           585               448
                                            1996                               15        298           651               472
                                            1997                               16        259         1,649               519
                                            Source: GAO analysis of AOUSC data.


                                            Although the cost of using a recalled judge is less than the cost of a full-
A Number of Variables                       time active magistrate or bankruptcy judge, the actual cost of any
Affect Actual Cost                          particular recall appointment depends upon a number of variables. These
Savings Associated                          include (1) whether the recalled judge retired at full or partial salary, (2)
                                            the pension plan under which the judge retired, (3) the staff support
with Recalled Judges                        provided to the judge, and (4) whether the judge is required to travel from
                                            his or her home to the court in which the recall service is performed.

                                            Judges who retired at full salary are not entitled to additional pay for recall
                                            service. Judges who retired at less than full salary are entitled to a salary
                                            (or daily wage for those performing part-time service) that equals the
                                            difference between their pensions and the salary of an active, full-time
                                            judge. (See app. II for more details.) Judges who retired under the Civil
                                            Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employee Retirement



                                            Page 14                                             GAO/GGD-99-22 Recalled Judges
                             B-280364




                             System (FERS) may be entitled to a supplemental annuity while on recall
                             duty. Recalled judges who have limited support staff, such as a secretary
                             only, cost less than those recalled judges receiving the same pension who
                             have the same support staff as a full-time active judge. Recalled judges are
                             entitled to the same travel and per diem expenses as active judges. Thus, if
                             a judge must travel from his or her home to the district to which he or she
                             was recalled, the district that recalled the judge may incur travel and per
                             diem expenses for his or her services.

Recalled Magistrate Judges   The majority of magistrate judges who were eligible for recall each year
                                                                  16
                             had retired at less than full salary. For every fiscal year from 1990 through
Generally Retired at Less    1996, the number of magistrate judges who had retired at less than full
Than Full Salary;            salary was at least double the number of judges who had retired at full
Bankruptcy Judge Data        salary (see app. IV, table IV.5). This was not true of bankruptcy judges.
Mixed                        Beginning in fiscal year 1993, a majority of eligible, retired bankruptcy
                             judges had retired at full salary; and, beginning in fiscal year 1994, a
                             majority of recalled bankruptcy judges had retired at full salary (see app.
                             IV, table IV.6).

                             Unlike their colleagues who retired at full salary, magistrate and
                             bankruptcy judges whose pensions are less than the full salary of the office
                             from which they retired have a financial incentive to serve on recall duty
                             because they would be paid the difference between the amount of their
                             pensions and the current salary of an active magistrate or bankruptcy
                             judge. Consequently, it is generally less expensive for the circuit councils
                             and district courts to recall magistrate or bankruptcy judges who had
                             retired at full salary than to recall magistrate or bankruptcy judges who
                             had retired at less than full salary. From fiscal years 1991 through 1997, the
                             percentage of eligible magistrate judges who had retired on full salary and
                             were recalled ranged from 23 percent (1993) to 44 percent (1996). During
                             this same period, no more than 19 percent (in 1991) of eligible magistrate
                             judges who retired at less than full salary were recalled (see app. IV, table
                             IV.5). The picture for bankruptcy judges is mixed. From fiscal years 1991
                             through 1994, bankruptcy judges who retired at less than full salary were
                             more likely to be recalled than those who had retired at full salary.
                             Beginning in fiscal year 1995, judges who retired at full salary have been
                             more likely to be recalled. (See app. IV, table IV.6) This may reflect the fact
                             that, beginning in 1994, a majority of eligible retired bankruptcy judges had
                             retired at full salary.



                             16
                                  Only judges who have qualified for retirement under JRS may retire at full salary.




                             Page 15                                                               GAO/GGD-99-22 Recalled Judges
                            B-280364




                            Magistrate and bankruptcy judges who retired under either CSRS or FERS
                            may qualify for an enhanced retirement pension as a result of recall
                            service. Such retired judges with at least 1 but less than 5 years of full-time
                            continuous recall service may receive a supplemental annuity. Judges with
                            5 or more years of continuous full-time recall service may have their
                            pensions recalculated based on a new “average salary.” Of the 33 separate
                            magistrate judges who were recalled during the period of our review, 9 (27
                            percent) had retired under CSRS or FERS, and 1 had served 5 or more
                            years of recall service. Of the 43 separate bankruptcy judges who were
                            recalled, 12 (28 percent) retired under CSRS or FERS and 8 had served 5 or
                            more years of recall service.

Range of the Estimated      AOUSC maintains and annually updates data on the first-year and annual
                            recurring costs of various types of judgeships, including full-time
Annual Recurring Costs of   magistrate and bankruptcy judgeships. AOUSC also maintains and
Recalled Magistrate and     annually updates the average annual estimated costs of recalled magistrate
Bankruptcy Judges           and bankruptcy judges. AOUSC’s cost data includes the salaries and
                            benefits of the judges and any support staff, plus the cost of space,
                            equipment, and facilities to support the judge.

                            The AOUSC cost estimates for fiscal year 1999 show that the recurring
                            annual costs of a full-time magistrate judge is $601,832 and the cost of a
                            full-time bankruptcy judge is $575,297. AOUSC estimated that it would cost
                            $253,477 annually to recall a retired magistrate judge to full-time service,
                            with an annual salary of $30,728 per year, and provide the recalled judge
                            with a full support staff—law clerk, secretary, courtroom deputy, and
                            electronic court recorder. Comparable estimated costs for a recalled
                            bankruptcy judge were $241,402.

                            However, according to AOUSC, only some recalled judges have a full
                            personal staff. Many only have a secretary or law clerk. Using AOUSC’s
                            fiscal year 1999 data, we estimated it would cost about $87,000 annually to
                            recall to full-time service a magistrate judge who retired at full salary and
                            provide him or her with a secretary, but no other personal staff, while on
                            recall service. This total includes the estimated cost of the secretary’s
                            fringe benefits. The comparable estimated cost for a recalled bankruptcy
                            judge is about $93,000.

                            The actual cost of a recalled judge would depend upon the amount of the
                            salary earned on recall service, the personal staff provided to support the
                            recalled judge, and any travel costs that may be incurred while on recall
                            service.




                            Page 16                                           GAO/GGD-99-22 Recalled Judges
                      B-280364




                      On December 16, 1998, AOUSC provided written comments on a draft of
Agency Comments and   this report. AOUSC noted that although our report included no findings or
Our Evaluation        conclusions, an uninformed audience might read into the report an
                      implication that the judiciary had not tapped a resource available to it
                      when in fact there are inherent limitations on the use of recalled judges.
                      AOUSC noted that “[t]here are good reasons why recalled judges are not a
                      greater or more predictable resource than they already are, not the least of
                      which is the fact that they must be at least 65 years of age to retire under
                      the Judicial Retirement System.”

                      Our report is intended to provide information and analysis, not explicit or
                      implied conclusions or recommendations. Our report shows that a
                      majority of retired, eligible bankruptcy judges as of April 30, 1998, had
                      retired under JRS. However, as of the same date a majority of retired,
                      eligible magistrate judges had retired under CSRS or FERS, and such
                      judges did not have to be 65 years of age to retire. We did not obtain
                      information on the age of the judges who were eligible for recall. AOUSC
                      also provided technical changes to the report that we incorporated as
                      appropriate.

                      We are sending copies of this report to the Chairmen and Ranking Minority
                      Members of the House and Senate Committees on the Judiciary; the
                      Chairman and Ranking Minority Member of the Subcommittee on
                      Administrative Oversight and the Courts, Senate Committee on the
                      Judiciary; the Chairmen and Ranking Minority Members of the
                      Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law and Subcommittee
                      on Courts and Intellectual Property, House Committee on the Judiciary;
                      the Chairmen and Ranking Minority Members of the Subcommittee on
                      Commerce, Justice, State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies, House and
                      Senate Committees on Appropriations; Director, AOUSC; and the Chief




                      Page 17                                          GAO/GGD-99-22 Recalled Judges
B-280364




Judge of each of the 12 federal regional circuit courts of appeals. We will
provide copies to other interested parties upon request.

Major contributors to this report are listed in appendix VII. If you have any
questions about this report, please call me on (202) 512-8777.

Sincerely yours,




Richard M. Stana
Associate Director
Administration of Justice Issues




Page 18                                          GAO/GGD-99-22 Recalled Judges
Page 19   GAO/GGD-99-22 Recalled Judges
Contents



Letter                                                                                            1


Appendix I                                                                                       24
                          Process for Recalling Magistrate Judges                                25
The Process For           Process for Recalling Bankruptcy Judges                                27
Recalling Retired
Magistrate and
Bankruptcy Judges
Appendix II                                                                                      29
                          Eligibility                                                            29
Recall Eligibility,       Compensation                                                           30
Compensation, and         Support Services                                                       31

Available Staff Support
for Recalled Magistrate
and Bankruptcy
Judges
Appendix III                                                                                     32
                          Limitations of Data on Recall Appointments                             33
Objectives, Scope, and    Data Analysis                                                          34
Methodology
Appendix IV                                                                                      36

Data on Recalled
Magistrate and
Bankruptcy Judges, by
District and Fiscal
Year




                          Page 20                                      GAO/GGD-99-22 Recalled Judges
                         Contents




Appendix V                                                                                        41

Weighted Case Filings
for Courts that
Recalled Magistrate or
Bankruptcy Judges,
Fiscal Years 1990 to
1997
Appendix VI                                                                                       43

Comments From
AOUSC
Appendix VII                                                                                      44

Major Contributors to
This Report
Tables                   Table 1: Magistrate Judges in Retirement Status, Eligible                 9
                           for Recall, and Actually Recalled; and Number of
                           Districts That Recalled Judges, as of September 30,
                           1990-1997, and April 30, 1998
                         Table 2: Bankruptcy Judges in Retirement Status, Eligible                 9
                           for Recall, and Actually Recalled; and Number of
                           Courts That Recalled Judges, as of September 30, 1990-
                           1997, and April 30, 1998
                         Table 3: Number of District and Bankruptcy Courts That                   12
                           Had Recalled Judges, and the Number of Judgeship
                           Vacancies in These Courts, as of September 30, 1990-
                           1997, and April 30, 1998
                         Table 4: Range of Weighted Case Filings for Those                        13
                           Bankruptcy Courts That Recalled Judges Compared to
                           National Average, Fiscal Years 1992 and 1994-1997
                         Table 5: Range of Weighted Case Filings for Those                        14
                           Districts That Recalled Magistrate Judges Compared to
                           National Average, Fiscal Years 1990-1997




                         Page 21                                        GAO/GGD-99-22 Recalled Judges
          Contents




          Table IV.1: Listing of the Number of Recalled Magistrate                  36
            Judge Appointments, by District and by Fiscal Year, as
            of September 30, 1990-1997, and as of April 30, 1998, in
            Circuit Order
          Table IV.2: Listing of the Number of Recalled Bankruptcy                  37
            Judge Appointments, by District and Fiscal Year, as of
            September 30, 1990-1997, and as of April 30, 1998, in
            Circuit Order
          Table IV.3: Number of Retired Magistrate Judges Eligible                  38
            for Recall, Number of Eligible Judges Recalled by Type
            of Recall, and Number of Recalled Judges Who Served
            in Previous Years, as of September 30, 1990-1997, and
            as of April 30, 1998
          Table IV.4: Number of Retired Bankruptcy Judges                           39
            Eligible for Recall, Number of Eligible Judges Recalled
            by Type of Recall, and Number of Recalled Judges Who
            Served in Previous Years, as of September 30, 1990-
            1997, and as of April 30, 1998
          Table IV.5: Number and Percentage of Retired Magistrate                   39
            Judges Eligible for Recall and Who Were Recalled, by
            Pension Status, as of September 30, 1990-1997, and as
            of April 30, 1998
          Table IV.6: Number and Percentage of Retired                              40
            Bankruptcy Judges Eligible for Recall and Who Were
            Recalled, by Pension Status, as of September 30, 1990-
            1997, and as of April 30, 1998
          Table V.1: District Court Weighted Case Filings, in                       41
            Districts that Recalled at Least One Magistrate Judge,
            Fiscal Years 1990-1997
          Table V.2: Weighted Case Filings in Bankruptcy Courts                     42
            that Recalled at Least One Judge, Fiscal Years 1992 and
            1994-1997


Figures   Figure 1: Twenty Five District Courts, by Circuit, That                    6
            Had a Recalled Magistrate Judge on Duty at the End of
            One or More Fiscal Years, 1990-1997, or as of April 30
            1998
          Figure 2: Thirty-Three Bankruptcy Courts, by Circuit,                      7
            That Had a Recalled Bankruptcy Judge on Duty at the
            End of One or More Fiscal Years, 1990-1997, or as of
            April 30, 1998




          Page 22                                         GAO/GGD-99-22 Recalled Judges
Contents




Abbreviations

AOUSC       Administrative Office of the United States Courts
CSRS        Civil Service Retirement System
FERS        Federal Employees Retirement System
JRS         Judicial Retirement System
OPM         Office of Personnel Management
TSP         Thrift Savings Plan


Page 23                                             GAO/GGD-99-22 Recalled Judges
Appendix I

The Process For Recalling Retired Magistrate
and Bankruptcy Judges

               The process of identifying the need for the services of recalled magistrate
               and bankruptcy judges is shared by the district or bankruptcy court, the
               circuit judicial council of the circuit in which the district or bankruptcy
               court is located, and, in some instances, the Judicial Conference
               Committee on the Administration of the Magistrate Judges System or the
               Judicial Conference Committee on the Administration of the Bankruptcy
               System. Briefly, the formal process includes three basic steps: (1) the
               district or bankruptcy court initiates the request for a recalled judge, (2)
               the circuit judicial council reviews and approves or denies the request, and
               (3) when there is a request for an “intercircuit” recall (the recall of a judge
               outside of the circuit where the judge served on active status), the
               Magistrate Judges Committee or the Bankruptcy Committee of the Judicial
               Conference must approve the appointment. The Administrative Office of
               the U.S. Courts (AOUSC) provides informal support by assisting courts in
               locating retired magistrate and bankruptcy judges who are able and willing
               to serve on a recalled basis.

               Retired magistrate and bankruptcy judges may be recalled only with their
                                                                                   1
               consent and may be recalled for full- or part-time appointments. The
               decision to seek the appointment of a recalled judge rests with the district
               or bankruptcy court that determines it needs the services of a recalled
               judge. The chief judge of the district or bankruptcy court requests a
               recalled judge, specifying whether the requested recall would be full or
               part time, the period of time for which the appointment is requested, and
               whether staff and other expenditures are required. The circuit judicial
               council reviews the district court or bankruptcy court’s request and may
               approve, modify, or deny the request. If the circuit judicial council
               approves the request, the council is to specify whether the recalled judge
               will serve on a full- or part-time basis. Whether full or part time, the recall
               may be for up to 1 year and a day (ad hoc recall) or, in the case of
               magistrate judges, more than 1 year but not in excess of 3 years (extended
               service recall). Extended service recalls of retired bankruptcy judges are
               for a fixed 3-year period. Recall terms are renewable at the request of the
               district or bankruptcy court and upon approval of the circuit judicial
               council. Magistrate and bankruptcy judges who retired under the Civil
               Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employee Retirement
               System (FERS) are not eligible for extended recall.

               AOUSC’s role in the recall of retired magistrate and bankruptcy judges is
               principally one of assistance to local courts by helping them locate retired

               1
                Retired magistrate and bankruptcy judges who have retired under JRS and elect to practice law after
               retirement are not eligible to be recalled.




               Page 24                                                          GAO/GGD-99-22 Recalled Judges
                        Appendix I
                        The Process For Recalling Retired Magistrate and Bankruptcy Judges




                        magistrate or bankruptcy judges who are willing to serve on a recalled
                        basis. AOUSC assists in locating an eligible judge willing to serve who is as
                        close as possible, geographically, to the district or bankruptcy court in
                        which the recalled judge would serve. It is important to note that an
                        eligible judge may be generally willing to serve on recalled status but may
                        be unwilling to accept a specific recalled judge assignment. For example, a
                        judge who retired from a district in the midwest and subsequently moved
                        to Florida for retirement may be willing to be recalled only in Florida or an
                        adjacent state.

                        Prior to September 1996, the court or circuit council seeking a recalled
                        judge had to check with AOUSC regarding the availability of funds for the
                        recalled judge and any support staff that he or she may be provided.
                        However, in September 1996, the Judicial Conference amended the recall
                        regulations eliminating the requirement of funding approval by AOUSC
                        prior to judicial council authorization of a recalled judge and any support
                        staff. It is now the circuit council’s responsibility to determine the need for
                        a recalled magistrate or bankruptcy judge and also the support staff, if any,
                        who will be available to the recalled judge. The circuit council may decide
                        to provide the recalled judge no separate support staff (but rely on staff
                        already in the court), or provide the judge with his or her own secretary,
                        law clerk, or both.

                        Once the local district court determines the need to request a recalled
Process for Recalling   magistrate judge, it may call the Magistrate Judges Division of the Office of
Magistrate Judges       Judges Programs in AOUSC to notify it of the need for a full- or part-time
                        recalled judge, including any specific requirements for the position. For
                        example, the recall duties may be limited to criminal pretrial proceedings 2
                        or 3 days a week or month, or the court may need a full-time recalled
                        magistrate judge to handle a full range of duties. In limited circumstances,
                        the district court may seek a full-time recalled magistrate judge in lieu of
                        filling a magistrate judge vacancy. In these circumstances, the requesting
                        district court has the discretion of whether to request that a vacancy be
                        filled with a new judge or to request the appointment of a recalled judge
                        instead—at least for a period of time.

                        Using its list of eligible retired magistrate judges, the Magistrate Judges
                        Division would generally call those eligible judges residing in or near the
                        requesting district, moving out to other areas as needed. The goal is to
                        identify an eligible judge who is willing to serve in the position and who is
                        geographically as close as possible to the requesting district. This is not
                        always possible, however. For example, the district of New Jersey
                        requested a recalled magistrate judge to assist the district for several days



                        Page 25                                                  GAO/GGD-99-22 Recalled Judges
  Appendix I
  The Process For Recalling Retired Magistrate and Bankruptcy Judges




  a week. AOUSC’s search extended outward from New Jersey to Iowa,
  where it found a judge willing to serve that court. This recall appointment
  required the approval of the Magistrate Judges Committee because it
  involved an intercircuit assignment. The recalled judge had retired from
  the eighth circuit (which includes Iowa) and was recalled to a position in
  the third circuit (which includes New Jersey).

  The Magistrate Judges Division’s eligibility list consists of all retired
  magistrate judges who have not declared themselves ineligible. To assess
  the level of interest in being recalled and obtain a more accurate eligibility
  list, in February 1997, the Magistrate Judges Division began distributing
  questionnaires to all retiring magistrate judges. The Division has not
  formally surveyed retired magistrate judges who retired prior to February
  1997.

  The actual process of obtaining a recalled magistrate judge varies, as
  follows:

• The requesting district court may provide to AOUSC the names of retired
  magistrates judges whom the district believes are eligible and willing to
  serve on recall duty and either directly ask these retired judges if they are
  willing to serve or ask AOUSC to call these retired judges to determine if
  they are willing to serve.

• The requesting court may ask AOUSC to contact someone from AOUSC’s
  eligibility list for recall duty.

• By prior arrangement, and with the approval of the circuit council, a
  magistrate judge may transition directly from active to recall status, (i.e.,
  retire on Friday and return as a recalled judge on the following Monday).

  According to AOUSC, when a court asks for one or more additional
  magistrate judge positions, AOUSC does a formal survey to review the
  district’s workload and its use of magistrate judges. AOUSC’s policy for
  conducting this survey is that the survey team is to assess the possible use
  of recalled judges in lieu of an additional position. For those districts that
  do not request additional magistrate judge positions, the Judicial
  Conference mandates a review every 4 to 5 years of the use of magistrate
  judges and whether the use of recalled judges is a reasonable option. The
  results are to be reported to the Magistrate Judges Committee, which
  reviews all positions and recommends to the Judicial Conference whether
  the new positions should be authorized and whether existing positions
  should be continued.



  Page 26                                                  GAO/GGD-99-22 Recalled Judges
                        Appendix I
                        The Process For Recalling Retired Magistrate and Bankruptcy Judges




                        The process for recalling bankruptcy judges is generally similar to that
Process for Recalling   used for recalling magistrate judges. One difference is that it is the
Bankruptcy Judges       responsibility of the requesting bankruptcy court to formally advise the
                        Bankruptcy Judges Division of the Office of Judges Programs in AOUSC
                        that the court is requesting the services of a recall judge. The circuit
                        council would be more likely than AOUSC to know which retired
                        bankruptcy judges may be available and willing to be recalled within the
                        circuit (especially for intracircuit service). Thus, it is not unusual for the
                        names of retired bankruptcy judges available for service to accompany the
                        formal notice to AOUSC.

                        The Bankruptcy Judges Division’s eligibility list contains all retired judges
                        who have not declared themselves ineligible. Ineligible retired bankruptcy
                        judges include those who have notified AOUSC that they plan to practice
                        law in retirement. To obtain a more accurate eligibility list and assess
                        retiring judges’ interest in being recalled, in April 1998, the Division began
                        to request information from all retiring bankruptcy judges that included a
                        judge’s interest in serving in a recall position. AOUSC has not gathered
                        similar information on a systematic basis from bankruptcy judges who
                        retired prior to April 1998.

                        When a judgeship vacancy occurs in a bankruptcy court, the Bankruptcy
                        Judges Division, upon request, is to make available to that court a list of
                        retired bankruptcy judges available for recall in the circuit and to
                        encourage the court to use recalled judges. If a court requests help in
                        obtaining a recall candidate, the Division is to call judges on its eligibility
                        list, using the same criteria as the Magistrate Judges Division (geographic
                        proximity) to find a candidate.

                        The Judicial Conference requires the Bankruptcy Judges Division to
                        conduct surveys in even numbered years to assess the continued need for
                        existing authorized bankruptcy judgeship positions. The principal criteria
                        for assessing continued judgeship needs is the weighted case filings per
                        judgeship in the district. The biennial bankruptcy judgeship assessment
                        process to determine the need for additional judgeships includes surveys
                        and on-site reviews in which a team (with a bankruptcy judge of a different
                        district as a member) visits the bankruptcy court that has requested an
                                                 2
                        additional judgeship(s). One goal of the team is to alert the bankruptcy
                        court to the option of using recall judges in lieu of requesting additional

                        2
                         For a more detailed explanation of the Judicial Conference’s process for assessing bankruptcy
                        judgeship needs, see Federal Judiciary: Bankruptcy Judgeship Requests, 1993-1997 (GAO/T-GGD-97-
                        183, Sept. 22, 1997).




                        Page 27                                                        GAO/GGD-99-22 Recalled Judges
Appendix I
The Process For Recalling Retired Magistrate and Bankruptcy Judges




judgeship positions. As part of its site visit, the team is to discuss the recall
option, its benefits, and identify the retired judges available for recall.




Page 28                                                  GAO/GGD-99-22 Recalled Judges
Appendix II

Recall Eligibility, Compensation, and
Available Staff Support for Recalled
Magistrate and Bankruptcy Judges
               Eligibility for recall service, the compensation paid to recalled judges, and
               the staff support available to recalled judges are governed by statute and
               Judicial Conference policy and regulations.

               Generally, magistrate judges and bankruptcy judges who have retired from
Eligibility    the bench are eligible for recall service. A retired bankruptcy or magistrate
               judge may be recalled to service in accordance with regulations
               promulgated by the Judicial Conference under 28 U.S.C. §§ 155 (b) and 636
               (h), respectively. Under the Conference’s regulations, a retired magistrate
               or bankruptcy judge may be recalled to “ad hoc” recall service for
               renewable periods of 1 year and 1 day, or for “extended recall” service for
               renewable 3-year periods. There is no limit to the number of renewals that
               may be approved. Any judge who is receiving an annuity is eligible for “ad
               hoc” recall service. Judges may qualify for an annuity under several
               retirement systems—CSRS; FERS; the Judicial Retirement System (JRS),
                                                  1
               available only to full-time judges; or a “hybrid” version of JRS in which a
                                                                                  2
               judge receives a pension paid from both JRS and CSRS or FERS. However,
               only magistrate and bankruptcy judges who have retired on full salary
               under “straight” or “hybrid” JRS and are at least 65 years of age are eligible
               for “extended recall.”

               A circuit judicial council may recall a retired magistrate or bankruptcy
               judge with the judge’s consent, but recall is subject to the availability of
               funds to pay any associated expenses, such as per diem and travel
               expenses. A retired judge may serve in any district upon recall. The court
               to which the judge is recalled determines the location and duration of the
               recalled judge’s service and may impose limitations on the scope of service
               provided on recall. The term of recall may be for full- or part-time service
               and may be modified or terminated at any time by the judicial council of
               the circuit in which the judge is recalled.

               A judge who retires under JRS and who practices law after retirement is
               not eligible for recall service. Nor are such retired judges eligible for any
               annual cost-of-living adjustments in their JRS annuity subsequent to
               notifying AOUSC of their intent to practice law. Moreover, a judge who
               retires under JRS and fails to notify AOUSC prior to engaging in the
               practice of law forfeits his or her annuity. However, magistrate judges who
               did not retire under JRS and who practiced law after retirement may be
               recalled to part-time service and may continue to practice law while in
               1
               All full-time magistrate and bankruptcy judges are eligible to elect coverage under JRS at any time
               prior to 30 days before leaving office.
               2
                   The “hybrid” JRS annuity is available only to judges in office on November 15, 1988.




               Page 29                                                               GAO/GGD-99-22 Recalled Judges
                              Appendix II
                              Recall Eligibility, Compensation, and Available Staff Support for Recalled Magistrate and
                              Bankruptcy Judges




                              recall service. Magistrate judges may not practice law while serving full-
                              time recall service.

                              Retired magistrate and bankruptcy judges who are recalled to full-time
Compensation                  judicial duties may receive pay equal to the difference between the amount
                              of their pensions and the salary of a full-time magistrate or bankruptcy
                              judge. Retired judges who are recalled to part-time service are paid a daily
                              wage. For each day of service, the judge would receive the daily salary of
                              the office for that day less the portion of the judge’s annuity allocable to
                              that day.

                              A retired judge who is recalled to full-time service is entitled to the salary
                              of the office to which he or she is recalled less the annuity allocable to the
                              period of recall service. For example, a bankruptcy judge who retired with
                              an annuity equal to 100 percent of the salary of the office to which he or
                              she was recalled would receive no additional compensation. However, a
                              bankruptcy judge who retired on an $80,000 annuity who is recalled to full-
                              time service would receive “wages” of $45,764—the difference between the
                              $80,000 annuity and the $125,764 salary of a full-time bankruptcy judge.

                              A retired judge may also be recalled on a less than full-time basis, referred
                              to as “when actually employed.” In such cases, the recalled judge’s salary
                              is computed on a daily basis. For each day of service, the judge would
                              receive the daily salary of the office for that day less the portion of the
                              judge’s annuity allocable to that day. For example, if the annual salary of
                              the office were $123,000, the daily salary rate would be about $473
                              ($123,000 divided by 260 days—the number of days in a standard work
                              year). If the recalled judge were receiving an annuity of $80,000, the daily
                              proportion of the annuity would be about $222 ($80,000/360 days—the
                              number of days using 12, 30-day calendar months). Thus, the judge would
                              receive about $251 per day for each day of recall service ($473 - $222).

Effect of Recall Service on   Recall service may not be credited and used to increase the amount of a
                              judge’s retirement annuity under JRS. However, a recalled judge who is
A Judge’s Pension             receiving a retirement annuity under CSRS or FERS may earn an increased
                              annuity as a result of recall service.

                              For continuous recall service equal to at least 1 year but less than 5 years
                              of full-time service, the judge is entitled to a supplemental annuity equal to
                              2.5 percent (CSRS) or 1 percent (FERS) of the judge’s basic pay averaged
                              during the recall period. For recall service of 5 or more years of
                              continuous full-time service, the judge may elect this supplemental annuity
                              or have the total CSRS or FERS annuity recalculated based on a new



                              Page 30                                                    GAO/GGD-99-22 Recalled Judges
                   Appendix II
                   Recall Eligibility, Compensation, and Available Staff Support for Recalled Magistrate and
                   Bankruptcy Judges




                   “average salary.” For example, a retired judge who is paid a CSRS annuity
                   of $50,000 based on 20 years service and a high-3 average salary of
                   $100,000 (20 years x 2.5 percent x $100,000) and who is recalled full time to
                   a position paying $123,000 annually, would be entitled to a recomputed
                   annuity of $76,875 after 5 years of recall service (25 years x 2.5 percent x
                   $123,000). However, a recalled judge must contribute to CSRS or FERS in
                   order to receive a supplemental or recomputed annuity. Judges who have
                   retired under CSRS may contribute up to 5 percent of their wages to the
                   Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) during their term of recall service. Judges who
                   retired under FERS, or those who retired under CSRS, but elect FERS
                   during their period of recall service, may, within certain limitations,
                   contribute up to 10 percent of their wages and receive government
                   contributions. According to AOUSC, judges who retired under JRS are not
                   eligible to contribute to TSP while on recall.

                   A recalled judge is entitled to the services of a secretary and a law clerk (1)
Support Services   on a showing of need, (2) with the approval of the judicial council, and (3)
                   subject to the availability of appropriated funds. A recalled judge is also
                   entitled to travel and per diem expenses in the same manner as an active
                   judge.




                   Page 31                                                    GAO/GGD-99-22 Recalled Judges
Appendix III

Objectives, Scope, and Methodology


                 Our objectives were to determine for the period October 1, 1989, through
                 April 30, 1998, (1) whether the demand for recalled magistrate and
                 bankruptcy judges has exceeded the number of judges available to serve in
                 recalled positions, (2) whether the courts that recalled magistrate and
                 bankruptcy judges had judgeship vacancies or higher than average
                 weighted case filings, and (3) the approximate 1-year cost savings
                 associated with using a recalled judge rather than filling a full-time
                 magistrate or bankruptcy judgeship position.

                 To meet these objectives, we requested and AOUSC provided data as of
                 September 30 for each fiscal year from 1990 through 1997, and as of April
                 30 for fiscal year 1998 on (1) the number of retired judges eligible for
                 recalled service, (2) the number of recalled positions filled by magistrate
                 and bankruptcy judges who had retired on full or partial salary, (3) the
                 number of retired magistrate and bankruptcy judges who filled these
                 positions, and (4) the judgeship vacancies and weighted case filings of
                 those courts that used recalled judges. Specifically, AOUSC provided data
                 as of September 30, 1990 to 1997 and as of April 30, 1998 on the

               • number of judges in retirement status;

               • number of judges who had retired each year under JRS, CSRS, or FERS;

               • number of judges who retired each year with a pension equal to full salary;

               • number of judges who retired each year with a pension that was less than
                 full salary;

               • number of judges who were eligible for recall each year;

               • number of judges in recall status at the end of each fiscal year;

               • number and duration of magistrate and bankruptcy judgeship
                 appointments each year and the dates of those appointments;

               • weighted case filings per authorized district judgeship in district courts for
                 each fiscal year 1990 through 1997;




                 Page 32                                           GAO/GGD-99-22 Recalled Judges
                           Appendix III
                           Objectives, Scope, and Methodology




                         • weighted case filings per authorized bankruptcy judgeship in bankruptcy
                           courts for fiscal years 1992 and 1994 through 1997 (fiscal year data for
                                                                     1
                           1990, 1991, and 1993 were not available);

                         • number of vacancies each year in those courts that recalled magistrate or
                           bankruptcy judges, including the dates those vacancies occurred and were
                           filled; and,

                         • the estimated fiscal year 1999 costs of creating and maintaining a new full-
                           time magistrate or bankruptcy judgeship, including salaries, benefits,
                           support staff, and space and facilities.


                           AOUSC’s data on the number of judges in retirement status each year and
                           the number of judges who were eligible for recall each year were
                           cumulative. Thus, for example, the fiscal year 1997 data on retired
                           magistrate judges included all judges in retirement status as of September
                           30, 1997, whether the judges had retired in fiscal year 1997 or a previous
                           year. All other data AOUSC provided were not cumulative. For example,
                           the data on the number of judges who retired in fiscal year 1997 under JRS
                           included only the judges who retired that year, not those judges who had
                           retired under JRS in previous years.

                           To determine the net number of retired magistrate and bankruptcy judges
                           at the end of each fiscal year, we obtained data from AOUSC and the
                           Office of Personnel Management (OPM) on the dates of death of retired
                           judges who died during the period October 1, 1989, through April 30, 1998.
                           AOUSC officials said that AOUSC does not maintain post-retirement data
                           on magistrate and bankruptcy judges who retired under one of the two
                           principal civil service retirement systems—CSRS or FERS. For judges who
                           retired under one of these retirement systems, OPM provided data on the
                           dates of death.

                           The data AOUSC provided on recall appointments included judges whose
Limitations of Data on     recall appointments were in effect as of September 30 of each fiscal year
Recall Appointments        from 1990 through 1997 and as of April 30, 1998, for fiscal year 1998.
                           Consequently, for fiscal years 1990 through 1997, the data AOUSC

                           1
                            Weighted case filings were not available for fiscal years 1990, 1991, and 1993 for bankruptcy courts.
                           Although weighted case filings for these years were available for statistical years ending June 30 and
                           calendar years ending December 31, we did not use these data because they would not be comparable
                           to the fiscal year data provided for other years.




                           Page 33                                                           GAO/GGD-99-22 Recalled Judges
                Appendix III
                Objectives, Scope, and Methodology




                provided did not include appointments made on or after October 1 of each
                fiscal year that expired prior to September 30 of each fiscal year. Nor did it
                include any appointments made on or after October 1, 1997, that expired
                prior to April 30, 1998. AOUSC officials said that they believed the number
                of appointments that were not included in our data were relatively few,
                and our interviews with the 12 Circuit Executives also indicated that
                during the period of our review there were few recall appointments of less
                than 1 year.

                From the data provided by AOUSC and OPM, we determined (1) the
Data Analysis   percentage of retired judges whom AOUSC data indicated were eligible for
                recall each year; (2) the number who were actually on recall duty at the
                end of each fiscal year during 1990 through 1997 and as of April 30, 1998;
                (3) the districts to which they were recalled; (4) the number who were
                reappointed to their recall positions each year; (5) the number of recalled
                judges who did and did not retire on full salary; (6) the weighted case
                filings of the districts who used recalled judges each fiscal year (for those
                years where data were available); (7) whether the districts who recalled
                judges had one or more judgeship vacancies during the period of recall
                service; and (8) the approximate cost savings of using a recalled judge
                rather than filling a vacant full-time magistrate or bankruptcy judgeship
                position.

                We reviewed the data provided by AOUSC for internal consistency by
                choosing a judgmental sample of AOUSC’s data on retired and recalled
                judges, tracing the data back to source documents, and verifying that the
                data AOUSC provided matched the data on the source documents. Our
                sample included retired and recalled magistrate and bankruptcy judges
                from several different years and geographically diverse districts.

                The Circuit Councils review and must approve requests for recalled judges.
                We interviewed the Circuit Executive in each of the 12 regional circuits
                regarding (1) the reasons why some district and bankruptcy courts
                requested recalled judges and others within the circuit did not; (2) what
                incentives and disincentives there may be for district and bankruptcy
                courts to use recalled judges and for retired judges to serve on recall duty;
                and (3) information on alternatives to recalled judges, such as the use of
                visiting judges on intracircuit or intercircuit assignments. We summarized
                the results of these interviews to identify common practices and
                differences among the circuits.

                We obtained information on the policies for determining retired judges’
                eligibility for service and for recalling retired magistrate or bankruptcy



                Page 34                                           GAO/GGD-99-22 Recalled Judges
Appendix III
Objectives, Scope, and Methodology




judges from the AOUSC publication, Retirement Benefits for Bankruptcy
Judges and Magistrate Judges (1995 edition), and the semiannual minutes
of the Judicial Conference and its Committees on (1) the Administration of
the Magistrate Judges System and (2) the Administration of the
Bankruptcy System for calendar years 1990 through 1997.

We used AOUSC data on the salary and benefits of full-time magistrate and
bankruptcy judges, the salary and benefits of their support staff (law clerk,
secretary, courtroom deputy, electronic court recorder), and the cost of
space and equipment for new magistrate and bankruptcy judges, to
estimate the comparative costs of using a recalled judge instead of adding
a new judge. For recalled judges without a full support staff, we assumed
the recalled judges had a full-time secretary, but no other staff, during the
period of recall service. For the cost of the recalled judges’ salary, we used
AOUSC’s average estimated salary for recalled judges.




Page 35                                           GAO/GGD-99-22 Recalled Judges
Appendix IV

Data on Recalled Magistrate and Bankruptcy
Judges, by District and Fiscal Year

                                             This appendix contains data on the number of recalled magistrate and
                                             bankruptcy judge positions filled by districts as of September 30, 1990,
                                             through 1997 and as of April 30, 1998, (tables IV.1 and IV.2). Tables IV.3
                                             and IV.4 show the number of retired magistrate and bankruptcy judges
                                             who were recalled for ad hoc recall and extended recalled service each
                                             year. Tables IV.5 and IV.6 contain data on the pension status of the judges
                                             eligible for recall and those eligible judges who were recalled each year
                                             during the period of our review.

Table IV.1: Listing of the Number of
Recalled Magistrate Judge                    Circuit/
Appointments, by District and by Fiscal      District   1990 1991 1992    1993   1994   1995    1996   1997    1998   Total
Year, as of September 30, 1990-1997,         D.C.
and as of April 30, 1998, in Circuit Order   D.C.                                                          1      1       2
                                             First
                                             RI                                            1       1       1      1       4
                                             Second
                                             NY-N                                                  1       1      1       3
                                             NY-W                     1      1      1      1       1       1      1       7
                                             Third
                                             PA-E                                   1      2       2       2      2       9
                                             NJ                                                            1              1
                                             Fourth
                                             SC                                                    1       1      1       3
                                             Fifth
                                             MS-N                                                  1                      1
                                             TX-S          1     1    1      1                                            4
                                             Sixth
                                             MI-E                            1      1      1       1       2      2       8
                                             OH-N                                                          1              1
                                             OH-S                                                  2                      2
                                             Seventh
                                             IL-C                                                          1      1       2
                                             Eighth
                                             MN                       1      1      1      2       2       1      1       9
                                             MO-E          1     1    1      1      1      1                              6
                                             NE            1     1                                                        2
                                             Ninth
                                             CA-C                                   1                                     1
                                             CA-E                1    1      1      1      1       1       1              7
                                             CA-N          1     1    1      1      2      2       2       1      1      12
                                             CA-S                                   1                                     1
                                             OR                              1      2      2       2       1      1       9
                                             WA-E                                          1       1                      2
                                             Tenth
                                             NM                                            1       1       1      1       4
                                             Eleventh
                                             FL-S                1    1      1      1      1       1       1      1       8
                                             GA-N                                                                 3       3




                                             Page 36                                           GAO/GGD-99-22 Recalled Judges
                                             Appendix IV
                                             Data on Recalled Magistrate and Bankruptcy Judges, by District and Fiscal Year




                                             Circuit/
                                             District     1990 1991 1992           1993   1994   1995    1996    1997    1998     Total
                                             Total           4    6    7              9     13     16      20      18      18      111
                                             Source: GAO analysis of AOUSC data.


Table IV.2: Listing of the Number of
Recalled Bankruptcy Judge                    Circuit/
Appointments, by District and Fiscal         District     1990 1991     1992       1993   1994   1995    1996    1997    1998     Total
Year, as of September 30, 1990-1997,         Second
and as of April 30, 1998, in Circuit Order   CT                                                                               1      1
                                             NY-E                                     1      1      1        1       1        1      6
                                             NY-S                                                   1        1       1        1      4
                                             VT              1      1       1         1      1      1        1       1        1      9
                                             Third
                                             PA-W                                            1      1        1       1        1      5
                                             Fourth
                                             NC-M                                            1      1        1       1        1      5
                                             NC-W                                            1      1        1       1        1      5
                                             VA-E                                            1      1        1       1        1      5
                                             Fifth
                                             LA-E                           1         1      1      1        1       1        1      7
                                             TX-E                                                            1       1               2
                                             TX-S                                                                    1               1
                                             Sixth
                                             KY-E            1      1       1                                                 1      4
                                             MI-E                                                                             1      1
                                             MI-W            1      1       1                                                        3
                                             OH-N                                            2      3        2       1        1      9
                                             OH-S                                            1      1        1       1        1      5
                                             TN-E                                            1      1        1       1        1      5
                                             Seventh
                                             IL-C            1      1       1         1      1      1        1       1        1      9
                                             IL-N                                            1      1        1       1               4
                                             IN-N            1      1       1         1      1      1        1       1        1      9
                                             WI-E            1      1       1         1      1      1                                6
                                             Eighth
                                             MN                                              1      1        1       1        1      5
                                             Ninth
                                             CA-C            1      1       2         2      1                                1      8
                                             CA-E                                                   1                         1      2
                                             CA-N            1      1       1         1      1                                       5
                                             HI                             1         1      1      1        1       1        1      7
                                             NV                                              1      1        1       1        1      5
                                             OR              1      1       1         1      2      1        1                1      9
                                             WA-E            1      1                                                1        1      4
                                             WA-W                                            1      1        1       1               4
                                             Tenth
                                             NM                                                                               1      1
                                             OK-W                                                            1       1        1      3
                                             Eleventh




                                             Page 37                                                    GAO/GGD-99-22 Recalled Judges
                                          Appendix IV
                                          Data on Recalled Magistrate and Bankruptcy Judges, by District and Fiscal Year




                                           Circuit/
                                           District     1990 1991      1992     1993     1994     1995    1996     1997     1998    Total
                                           AL-N                                                      1                                 1
                                           Total           10     10      12       11       23      24       22       22       25    159
                                          Source: GAO analysis of AOUSC data.


Table IV.3: Number of Retired
Magistrate Judges Eligible for Recall,                  Number of        Number of judges recalled                 Number of recalled
Number of Eligible Judges Recalled by                   judges eligible Ad hoc Extended                            judges who served
                                                                                                                                     a
Type of Recall, and Number of Recalled   Effective date for recall       recall     recall      Total                in previous year
Judges Who Served in Previous Years,     09-30-90                   19       4          0           4                             N/A
as of September 30, 1990-1997, and as    09-30-91                   30       6          0           6                               4
of April 30, 1998                        09-30-92                   44       7          0           7                               5
                                         09-30-93                   49       9          0           9                               7
                                         09-30-94                   60      12          1          13                               8
                                         09-30-95                   73      15          1          16                              11
                                         09-30-96                   83      19          1          20                              14
                                         09-30-97                   92      17          1          18                              13
                                         04-30-98                   96      17          1          18                              15
                                          Note: N/A = not applicable
                                          a
                                           Judges whose recall terms were renewed or judges who were serving on extended recall.
                                          Source: GAO analysis of AOUSC data.




                                          Page 38                                                        GAO/GGD-99-22 Recalled Judges
                                           Appendix IV
                                           Data on Recalled Magistrate and Bankruptcy Judges, by District and Fiscal Year




Table IV.4: Number of Retired Bankruptcy Judges Eligible for Recall, Number of Eligible Judges Recalled by Type of Recall,
and Number of Recalled Judges Who Served in Previous Years, as of September 30, 1990-1997, and as of April 30, 1998
                 Number of judges                Number of judges recalled                       Number of recalled judges
                                                                                                                            a
Effective date     eligible for recall Ad hoc recall Extended recall            Total          who served in previous year
09-30-90                           18            10                 0              10                                   N/A
09-30-91                           22            10                 0              10                                     10
09-30-92                           27            12                 0              12                                      9
09-30-93                           33            11                 0              11                                     10
09-30-94                           42            16                 7              23                                     10
09-30-95                           47            16                 8              24                                     20
09-30-96                           50            12                10              22                                     19
09-30-97                           55            17                 5              22                                     20
04-30-98                           60            22                 3              25                                     18
                                           Note: N/A = not applicable
                                           a
                                            Judges whose recall terms were renewed or judges who were serving on extended recall.
                                           Source: GAO analysis of AOUSC data.



Table IV.5: Number and Percentage of Retired Magistrate Judges Eligible for Recall and Who Were Recalled, by Pension Status,
as of September 30, 1990-1997, and as of April 30, 1998
                     Number of retired                Number of eligible retired        Percentage of eligible retired judges
                                                                                                                    a
                 judges eligible for recall           judges who were recalled                   who were recalled
Effective      Retired at less Retired at full    Retired at less           Retired at      Retired at less      Retired at full
date          than full salary         salary    than full salary           full salary    than full salary              salary
09-30-90                   19               0                    4                    0                 21                 N/A
09-30-91                   26               4                    5                    1                 19                   25
09-30-92                   35               9                    4                    3                 11                   33
09-30-93                   36              13                    6                    3                 17                   23
09-30-94                   43              17                    6                    7                 14                   41
09-30-95                   50              23                    7                    9                 14                   39
09-30-96                   58              25                    9                  11                  16                   44
09-30-97                   61              31                    8                  10                  13                   32
04-30-98                   61              35                    8                  10                  13                   29
                                           Note: N/A = not applicable
                                           a
                                            Rounded to nearest whole number.
                                           Source: GAO analysis of AOUSC data.




                                           Page 39                                                       GAO/GGD-99-22 Recalled Judges
                                           Appendix IV
                                           Data on Recalled Magistrate and Bankruptcy Judges, by District and Fiscal Year




Table IV.6: Number and Percentage of Retired Bankruptcy Judges Eligible for Recall and Who Were Recalled, by Pension
Status, as of September 30, 1990-1997, and as of April 30, 1998
                      Number of retired              Number of retired judges        Percentage of retired judges eligible for
                                                                                                                     a
                  judges eligible for recall            who were recalled                   recall who were recalled
Effective       Retired at less     Retired at    Retired at less    Retired at full Retired at less than      Retired at full
date           than full salary    full salary   than full salary           salary             full salary             salary
09-30-90                     13              5                 10                 0                     77                   0
09-30-91                     15              7                 10                 0                     67                   0
09-30-92                     14             13                 10                 2                     71                  15
09-30-93                     16             17                  8                 3                     50                  18
09-30-94                     15             27                  9                14                     60                  52
09-30-95                     14             33                  6                18                     43                  55
09-30-96                     15             35                  5                17                     33                  49
09-30-97                     16             39                  4                18                     25                  46
04-30-98                     17             43                  7                18                     41                  42
                                           a
                                           Rounded to nearest whole number.
                                           Source: GAO analysis of AOUSC data.




                                           Page 40                                                   GAO/GGD-99-22 Recalled Judges
Appendix V

Weighted Case Filings for Courts that
Recalled Magistrate or Bankruptcy Judges,
Fiscal Years 1990 to 1997
Table V.1: District Court Weighted Case
Filings, in Districts that Recalled at
Least One Magistrate Judge, Fiscal        Circuit/District            1990      1991       1992      1993      1994       1995      1996       1997
Years 1990-1997                           National average
                                                           a
                                                                       427       386        412       419       419        448       472        519
                                          D.C.
                                               b
                                          D.C.                         306        327       278        274       271       237        251       259
                                          First
                                          RI                           326        316       353        292       283       322        298       308
                                          Second
                                          NY-N                         419        357       414        387       463       452        494       454
                                          NY-W                         413        435       506        522       504       510        492       497
                                          Third
                                          NJ                           446        386       382        395       414       449        423       443
                                          PA-E                         442        373       387        376       404       405        376       402
                                          Fourth
                                          SC                           451        443       449        501       488       527        520       580
                                          Fifth
                                          MS-N                         381        358       407        465       407       379        428       444
                                          TX-S                         695        450       465        457       486       887        503       543
                                          Sixth
                                          MI-E                         355        376       437        397       387       419        459     1,649
                                          OH-N                         450        349       370        441       415       424        486       504
                                          OH-S                         404        376       411        381       388       395        436       440
                                          Seventh
                                          IL-C                         404        332       331        357       299       371        361       383
                                          Eighth
                                          MN                           353        376       372        403       419       422        458       542
                                          MO-E                         457        338       356        382       377       393        441       462
                                          NE                           520        353       354        339       353       355        377       410
                                          Ninth
                                          CA-C                         442        362       405        411       407       431        451       424
                                          CA-E                         427        376       417        436       465       537        570       601
                                          CA-N                         412        352       368        431       438       424        490       492
                                          CA-S                         519        517       677        602       560       726        833       814
                                          OR                           492        476       464        450       513       572        513       536
                                          WA-E                         347        288       261        275       253       264        301       259
                                          Tenth
                                          NM                           542        477       536        562       579       585        651       653
                                          Eleventh
                                          FL-S                         520        507       436        457       464       551        634       605
                                          a
                                          Weighted case filings per authorized district judge.
                                          b
                                           For each district court, weighted case filings are shown in bold for the year(s) in which the district
                                          court had a recalled judge on duty at the end of the fiscal year.
                                          Source: GAO analysis of AOUSC data.




                                          Page 41                                                              GAO/GGD-99-22 Recalled Judges
                                         Appendix V
                                         Weighted Case Filings for Courts that Recalled Magistrate or Bankruptcy Judges, Fiscal
                                         Years 1990 to 1997




Table V.2: Weighted Case Filings in                                                a
Bankruptcy Courts that Recalled at           Circuit/District                 1992          1994           1995          1996          1997
Least One Judge, Fiscal Years 1992 and       National average                 1,437         1,227          1,149         1,272         1,436
1994-1997                                    Second
                                             CT                               1,662         1,552          1,200         1,404         1,378
                                                   b
                                             NY-E                             1,904         1,737          1,682         1,729         1,640
                                             NY-S                             1,916         1,271          1,396         1,394         1,510
                                             VT                                 741           514            536           544           639
                                             Third
                                             PA-W                             1,062           813            752           819             923
                                             Fourth
                                             NC-M                               821           612            675           883         1,062
                                             NC-W                             1,470           950            937         1,363         2,321
                                             VA-E                             1,935         1,389          1,484         1,631         1,887
                                             Fifth
                                             LA-E                             1,197           948            924           991         1,145
                                             TX-E                             1,179         1,218          1,392         1,699         1,838
                                             TX-S                             1,484         1,173          1,249         1,392         1,352
                                             Sixth
                                             KY-E                             1,236           802            844           919         1,030
                                             MI-E                             2,067         1,811          1,713         1,679         2,104
                                             MI-W                             1,215           897            903         1,013         1,266
                                             OH-N                             1,032           699            788           747           871
                                             OH-S                             1,067           747            815           949         1,009
                                             TN-E                             1,100           942            854         1,166         1,306
                                             Seventh
                                             IL-C                               886           654            742           873         1,068
                                             IL-N                             1,199         1,130            968         1,179         1,291
                                             IN-N                             1,098           791            794           933         1,112
                                             WI-E                               619           507            563           800           757
                                             Eighth
                                             MN                               1,487         1,333          1,260         1,452         1,466
                                             Ninth
                                             CA-C                             2,144         2,084          1,859         1,904         1,847
                                             CA-E                             1,576         1,542          1,385         1,578         1,813
                                             CA-N                             1,828         1,574          1,374         1,431         1,524
                                             HI                                 779           767            819         1,047         1,237
                                             NV                               1,380         1,150          1,120         1,282         1,510
                                             OR                               1,050         1,012            916           981         1,043
                                             WA-E                               821           645            674           808           969
                                             WA-W                             1,267         1,296          1,204         1,466         1,611
                                             Tenth
                                             NM                               1,029           792            681         1,062         1,138
                                             OK-W                               930           768            712         1,007         1,198
                                             Eleventh
                                             AL-N                             1,595         1,649          1,843         1,717         1,876
                                         a
                                         Fiscal year data were not available for fiscal years 1990, 1991, and 1993.
                                         b
                                         For each bankruptcy court, weighted case filings are shown in bold for the year(s) in which the
                                         bankruptcy court had a recalled judge on duty at the end of the fiscal year.
                                         Source: GAO analysis of AOUSC data.




                                         Page 42                                                          GAO/GGD-99-22 Recalled Judges
Appendix VI

Comments From AOUSC




              Page 43   GAO/GGD-99-22 Recalled Judges
Appendix VII

Major Contributors to This Report


                      William Jenkins, Jr., Assistant Director
General Government
Division
                      Christopher Conrad, Evaluator-in-Charge
Dallas Field Office   Mary Kay Muse, Senior Evaluator

                      Geoffrey Hamilton, Senior Attorney Advisor
Office of General
Counsel




                      Page 44                                      GAO/GGD-99-22 Recalled Judges
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