Washington, D.C. – The House Judiciary Committee today approved by voice vote the Judiciary Reform, Organization and Operational Modernization (ROOM) Act of 2018, H.R. 6755. This bill, authored by Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet Subcommittee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), increases the number of federal district court judges by adopting the 2017 district court judgeship recommendations of the Judicial Conference in their entirety and includes several measures designed to improve the operation of the federal court system.
The U.S. federal court system is composed of one Supreme Court, 13 Courts of Appeals, 94 District Courts, and several other smaller courts. To operate the district court system, Congress has currently authorized 663 federal judgeships plus 10 temporary judgeships. Every other year, the Judicial Conference submits its recommendations to Congress on how many additional judgeships are needed in the various judicial districts based upon caseloads. The ROOM Act includes the current recommendation of the Judicial Conference to add 52 new permanent district court judgeships and to convert 8 of the 10 existing temporary district court judgeships to permanent status.
Additionally, the ROOM Act includes several measures to increase transparency in the federal court system. The legislation addresses the outdated technology associated with the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) service run by the Judicial Branch. The ROOM Act also requires Internet video streaming of appellate arguments for circuit courts, requires same day Internet audio streaming for the Supreme Court, and requires public disclosure of the reasons for a recusal by a Justice of the Supreme Court.
Finally, the ROOM Act requires medical screening for federal judges in an effort to assist federal judges with recognizing potential medical issues.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Subcommittee Chairman Issa applauded today’s approval of the ROOM Act in the statements below.
Chairman Goodlatte: “The ROOM Act makes a number of improvements to ensure our federal courts operate in a fair and efficient manner and to ensure that the American people have access to information regarding court proceedings. Most importantly, the ROOM Act takes long overdue steps to address the ever-increasing workload faced by our federal courts by adding 52 new judgeships. This represents the most significant increase in judgeships in nearly three decades.
“I appreciate Subcommittee Chairman Issa’s hard work on this legislation and am pleased the Committee has passed it today.”
Subcommittee Chairman Issa: “The American judicial system is the bedrock of our democracy. We must ensure that it continues to be the envy of the world in its integrity and fair administration of justice. The reforms included in the Judiciary ROOM Act being marked-up today represent important reforms to court operations. In addition to adding new judges, these measures will bring more transparency to courts and make court documents more accessible.”