Commission on Structural Alternatives for the
Federal Courts of Appeals

Date: February 26, 1998

Contact: David Sellers

Appellate Commission Schedules Public Hearings

The Commission on Structural Alternatives for the Federal Courts of Appeals has scheduled six public hearings to allow interested persons to comment on the Commission's work. The hearings will be in the following cities. The precise times and locations will be announced later.

Atlanta, March 23
Dallas, March 25
Chicago, April 3
New York, April 24
Seattle, May 27
San Francisco, May 29

Congress created the Commission late last year and charged it with studying the structure and alignment of the federal appellate system, with particular reference to the Ninth Circuit. In December 1998 the Commission is to report to the President and Congress any recommendations for changes in circuit boundaries or structure, consistent with fairness and due process. To assist its work, the Commission is interested in obtaining views on whether each federal appellate court renders decisions that are reasonably timely, are consistent among the litigants appearing before it, are nationally uniform in their interpretations of federal law, and are reached through processes that afford appeals adequate, deliberative attention of judges.

At the public hearings, the Commission specifically requests that witnesses address the following:

1. What problems or difficulties do you perceive in the federal appellate system's structure, organization, alignment, processes, and personnel that may interfere with its ability to render decisions that meet the above objectives? What criteria or standards can be used to answer this question?

2. What measures should be adopted by Congress or the courts to ameliorate or overcome perceived problems in the federal appellate system or any of its circuits? What are the advantages or disadvantages of any proposed measures?

3. What is working well in the federal appellate courts?

Persons may request to testify at any single hearing by mailing or faxing a one-page letter to the Commission stating their interest in the questions identified above, the hearing at which they desire to appear, and if applicable, the name of the organization on whose behalf they will be appearing. The letter must be received by the Commission at least 21 days before the hearing date. Persons who are invited by the Commission to testify will be expected to submit a written statement of not more than 2,500 words at least five days before the hearing.

In lieu of testifying at a hearing, interested persons may submit a statement in writing to the Commission anytime prior to June 1, 1998. Statements should be submitted in hard copy, typed, double-spaced, and also on a computer diskette in a format readable by a standard word processing program.

Letters and statements should be sent to:

Commission on Structural Alternatives for the
Federal Courts of Appeals

Washington, D.C. 20544
Fax: 202-208-5102


- Washington, DC 20544 - Phone (202) 273-0107 - Website: