Over 60 Federal Bar Association leaders educated Washington lawmakers and Congressional staff about the federal court system and its needs during FBA Capitol Hill Day on April 20, 2017.
This year’s annual FBA advocacy event broke all-time attendance records, with the largest group of FBA national, circuit, chapter, section, and division leaders ever participating. Working off a common agenda of FBA policy priorities, the FBA leaders participated in over 200 meetings with House and Senate offices across the Hill.
FBA advocates focused on four FBA policy priorities:
- Adequate funding for the federal courts to fulfill their constitutional and statutory responsibilities, both for the remainder of the current 2017 fiscal year and the upcoming 2018 fiscal year.
- Prompt action in filling historic levels of judicial vacancies on the federal district and appeals court bench.
- Urgent action in authorizing, before May 25, 2017, the conversion of 14 temporary bankruptcy judgeships to permanent status and the establishment of 4 permanent bankruptcy judgeships, pursuant to the recommendation of the Judicial Conference of the United States. By law, any bankruptcy judgeship vacancy (even of a permanent bankruptcy judgeship) occurring in any of the associated districts after May 25 cannot be filled.
- Establish additional Article III and bankruptcy judgeships, as recommended by the Judicial Conference. The Judicial Conference’s last review of judgeship needs, completed in March 2017, recommended that Congress establish 57 new district and circuit judgeships (52 district judgeships in 27 district courts and 5 new judgeships in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals) and convert 8 temporary district court judgeships to permanent status. The Conference also recommended the establishment of four permanent bankruptcy judgeships.
Capitol Hill Day participants received a warm reception from Congressional offices regarding these priorities. Participants hailed from 27 states and the District of Columbia and represented 12 circuits, 39 chapters, 10 sections and one division.
“Capitol Hill Day represents a natural extension of the mission of the Federal Bar Association to represent the practicing bar as the foremost constituency of the federal court system,” FBA President Judge Michael Newman said at the conclusion of Capitol Hill Day. “We need to keep reminding Congress of the important role our federal courts play and their need for resources and support from Congress,” Government Relations Committee Chair West Allen added in thanking this year’s participants for their fine work.
Bruce Moyer is government relations counsel for the FBA. He also serves as counsel to the National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys. © 2017 Bruce Moyer.
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