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A Performance Evaluation Program for the Federal Judiciary

45 Pages Posted: 10 Aug 2008 Last revised: 7 Nov 2012

Rebecca Love Kourlis

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Jordan M. Singer

New England Law | Boston

Date Written: August 8, 2008


Judicial performance evaluation (JPE) programs have existed at the state level for over thirty years as a means of promoting judicial accountability for a fair, courteous and efficient court process. These programs have been shown to provide judges with valuable information for their own professional development, and the public with valuable information about its judges. Despite their proven benefits, however, JPE programs have never been considered seriously at the federal level. This Article describes the qualities of the most successful state JPE programs, considers the historical obstacles to federal JPE, and ultimately proposes a framework for a JPE program for United States District and Magistrate Judges that will seek to preserve judicial independence, provide information for judges to improve their performance, and increase the public's confidence in the courts.

Keywords: Judicial performance evaluation, JPE, federal courts, accountability, independence, judicial training

Suggested Citation

Kourlis, Rebecca Love and Singer, Jordan M., A Performance Evaluation Program for the Federal Judiciary (August 8, 2008). Denver University Law Review, Vol. 86, No. 1, 2008. Available at SSRN:

Rebecca Kourlis

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Jordan Singer (Contact Author)

New England Law | Boston ( email )

154 Stuart St.
Boston, MA 02116
United States
(617) 368-1434 (Phone)


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