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Implementation of the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act of 1980: A Report to the Chief Justice

Judicial Conduct and Disability Act Study Committee, Stephen G. Breyer, Sarah Evans Barker, Pasco Middleton Bowman II, David Brock Hornby, Sally M. Rider, James Harvie Wilkinson III
September 1, 2006
In Print: Available for Distribution

The Judicial Conduct and Disability Act 1980 Act authorizes any person to file a complaint alleging that a federal judge has engaged in conduct "prejudicial to the effective and expeditious administration of the business of the courts." The late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, in 2004, responded to criticism from Congress and others about the way in which the Act had been implemented by appointing a committee led by Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

The committee reviewed several groups of complaint dispositions, including a large sample from 2001-03, and concluded that overall the judiciary is implementing the Act as Congress intended; it also found, however, an unacceptably high number of problematic dispositions among the small number of complaints it examined that had received news coverage or Congressional attention. In reviewing dispositions, the Committee developed and applied standards that take into account the value of protecting judicial independence in making decisions in a case.

The Federal Judicial Center is serving as a repository for the Committee's published report.

The report is also available at 239 Federal Rules Decisions 116.