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This booklet explains the provisions of the 1789 Judiciary Act and the compromises it embodies, reviews the evolution of the federal judicial system during the nineteenth century, and analyzes the conditions and debates that led to the passage of the Evarts Act in 1891, which established the three-tiered system that characterizes federal court structure today, and briefly reviews 20th century developments that help account for today's federal judicial system. It also includes twelve maps that illustrate the growth and evolution of the districts and circuits from 1789 to the present.

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Different types of cases impose different work demands on judges. Case weights are a measure of the average time consumed by cases of one type relative to other types. In 2003-2004, the Federal Judicial Center conducted a study to update existing weights for federal district courts using an event-based method. This method, which was new to the federal courts, combined information on the type and frequency of case events with information on the time judges require to complete these events. The Judicial Conference Committee on Judicial Resources and its Subcommittee on Judicial Statistics, which requested the study, approved the new set of weights in June 2004.

Note: The report's appendices are only available online. They are not included in the printed publication.

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This monograph introduces federal judges to admiralty and maritime law, including both general maritime and statutory law. The author examines the rules relating to jurisdiction and procedure that are peculiar to this field. Topics include areas relating to commercial law, such as charter parties, carriage of goods, and marine insurance. The Carriage of Goods by Sea Act, the Pomerene Act, and the Harter Act receive extensive treatment. The monograph explains the body of law dealing with maritime personal injury and death, including damages and seamen's remedies, the Jones Act, and the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act. Collision, towage, pilotage, salvage, limitation of liability, maritime liens, and general average are also covered.

Superseded by Admiralty and Maritime Law, Second Edition (2013).

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A chronological study of the development of the clerk's office as an institution from its creation by Congress in 1789 to the present. The report uses legislative material and other primary sources to describe the changing nature of the clerks' duties over the course of American history. The report also describes and explains the transformation of the clerks from relatively autonomous office-holders who earned their livings from the fees that their offices could generate to salaried employees of a federal judicial bureaucracy whose work was, and is, subject to a significant amount of oversight by various agencies of the government. The study emphasizes the clerks' contributions to judicial administration on a national level, but it provides a framework within which others can reconstruct the role of clerks in individual courts.

Archival Copy on File

In this issue:

  • The Amistad Case and the Federal Courts
  • Documenting the Careers of Federal Judges

The Court Historian was an occasional newsletter (discontinued) from the Federal Judicial History Office.

All issues published from 1989 to 1998.

Available Online Only

In this issue of the International Judicial Observer:

  • Judges from Ten Common-Law Countries Meet in Washington for Five-Day Conference
  • U.S. Judge Elected to Lead International Court of Justice
  • U.S., Throughout Its History, Has Contributed to Development and Substance of International Law, by Stephen Neff
  • Egyptian Conference Focuses on Role of the Judiciary in the Protection of Human Rights
  • Yale Law School Establishes Seminar on Global Constitutional Issues
  • Broadening Our Horizons: Why American Judges and Lawyers Must Learn About Foreign Law (Adapted from a speech given at the 1997 spring meeting of the American College of Trial Lawyers in Florida), by Sandra Day O'Connor
  • Leaders of Russian Judiciary Meet in U.S. to Plan Future of Courts
  • The FJC's Visiting Foreign Judicial Fellows Program
  • Interview with Judge Alexander Galkin of the Russian Federation

A newspaper published by the Center in cooperation with the American Society of International Law. The International Observer covered international judicial issues. International Judicial Observer was published from 1995-1997. It ceased publication with issue number 4, June 1997.


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