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Administrative Bodies: Judicial Conference of the United States, 1948-present

Originally Conference of Senior Circuit Judges, 1922-1948

In 1922, Congress established the Conference of Senior Circuit Judges, the first national organization of federal judges. With the chief justice presiding, the senior judge (now known as chief judge) of each circuit court of appeals gathered to report on the judicial business of the federal courts and to advise Congress on possible improvements in judicial administration. Although the conference’s role was largely advisory until the Administrative Office of the United States Courts was established in 1939, the conference became an important means of communicating the needs of the judiciary to Congress and the members of the executive branch involved in the administration of the courts. The Judicial Code of 1948 changed the name of the conference to the Judicial Conference of the United States and other laws expanded membership to include district judges (1957) and the chief judge of the U.S. Court of International Trade (1986). The Judicial Conference today serves as the national policy-making body for the federal courts.