Academic journal article Journal of Appellate Practice and Process

1955-2004 Statistical Data regarding Federal Courts

Academic journal article Journal of Appellate Practice and Process

1955-2004 Statistical Data regarding Federal Courts

Article excerpt

The Federal Judicial Center

FEDERAL COURT DATA, 1955-2004

1. COURTS OF APPEALS MERIT DECISIONS AND CASES RECEIVING PLENARY REVIEW IN SUPREME COURT

2. FILINGS OVERALL AND PER JUDGESHIP IN U.S. DISTRICT COURTS AND REGIONAL COURTS OF APPEALS

2A. FILINGS PER APPELLATE JUDGEHIP, BY CIRCUIT

3. CHANGES IN CASELOAD COMPOSITION

3A. CHANGES IN CASELOAD COMPOSITION, BY CIRCUIT

4. CHANGING PROCEDURES IN THE UNITED STATES COURTS OF APPEALS

4A. PRO SE APPEALS

4B. PRO SE APPEAL MERITS TERMINATIONS--PROCEDURES

5. CHANGING DISPOSITION PATTERNS IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTS

Prepared by Federal Judicial Center Staff, June 2005

Editor's note: Like the statement from the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers that precedes them in this issue and the state-court statistics that follow them, the federal-court statistics in these charts were circulated to all attendees in advance of the 2005 National Conference on Appellate Justice. They informed all of the presentations and discussions at the National Conference.

1. COURTS OF APPEALS MERIT DECISIONS AND CASES RECEIVING PLENARY
REVIEW IN SUPREME COURT

          Supreme Court
        Plenary Decisions      Courts of Appeals      Left column as
       in Cases From Courts    Decisions on the        % of middle
Year        of Appeals              Merits                column

1955           103                   2809 (2)              3.7%
1965            75                   3,546                 2.1%
1975           135                   9,077                 1.5%
1985           132                   16,369                0.8%
1995            67                   27,772                0.2%
2004            70                   27,438                0.3%

(1) Previous October Term (e.g., 1955 is OT54)

(2) Count of merits decisions in 1955 does not exclude consolidations

Sources: Harvard Law Review, vols. 70-110

AO Annual Report of the Director, Table B- 1 (1955-75: "Cases disposed
of after hearing or submission" 1985-2004: "Terminations on
the merits")

2. FILINGS OVERALL AND PER JUDGESHIP IN U.S. DISTRICT COURTS AND
REGIONAL COURTS OF APPEALS

                            U.S. District Courts

                                     Filings (1)

              Judgeships (2)    Total    Per Judgeship

1955               244         102,222        419
1965               306         101,012        330
1975               398         160,602        404
1985               575         327,758        570
1995               649         313,106        482
2004               682         374,687        549

% over 1955        180%         267%          31%
% over 1985        19%           14%          -4%

                    Regional U.S. Courts of Appeals

                                     Filings

              Judgeships (2)    Total    Per Judgeship

1955                68          3,695         54
1965                78          6,766         87
1975                97         16,658         172
1985               156         33,360         214
1995               167         50,072         300
2004               167         62,762         376

% over 1955        146%        1,599%        596%
% over 1985         7%           88%          76%

(1) The count of district court filings is the sum of civil cases
commenced and criminal defendants commenced. Due to differences in
the source data tables, however, in 1965 and 1975 the number of
filings reflects the count of criminal cases commenced rather than
criminal defendants. If the count of criminal defendants had been
used, the total filing and per judgeship figures would be higher for
these years.

(2) District court judgeships include temporary judgeships and
judgeships in the territorial courts. Appellate judgeships exclude
judgeships in the Federal Circuit. … 
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