Arthur Hellman on Judges Who “Stray” From Court Headquarters

Publish Date/Time: August 19, 2014

One of the judges recently appointed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will have her chambers in San Jose, rather than at the “iconic” court headquarters in San Francisco. This development prompted the Recorder, the California legal newspaper of American Law Media, to look at judges who “stray from headquarters” in establishing their chambers. The Recorder asked Pitt Law Professor Arthur Hellman, an expert on the Ninth Circuit, to comment.

Circuit judges were once encouraged to deliberate under the same roof, with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit famously prodding new appointees to relocate to Chicago, Hellman noted. But that philosophy has lost traction as telecommuting takes hold, he said.

“The idea that judges should move to the seat of the court would just seem laughable to some people now,” he observed.

Hellman also noted that when judges move into existing courthouses, it can pay dividends for circuit judges to work alongside their peers in the lower courts.

“There’s a natural tension between appellate and district court judges,” he said. “If they’re in the same building having lunch together now and again, I think it promotes understanding.”

Read the full story here.  

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