Judicial Collegiality, Court Structure, and the Decision to Sit En Banc: Evidence from U.S. District Courts

30 Pages Posted: 9 Apr 2004

See all articles by Ahmed E. Taha

Ahmed E. Taha

Pepperdine University - Rick J. Caruso School of Law

Date Written: March 2004

Abstract

In 1988, almost three hundred federal district judges in nearly seventy federal district courts ruled on the constitutionality of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. In fourteen of these districts the judges chose to sit en banc to decide the issue; in the other districts, the judges sat individually instead. By comparing the characteristics of the district courts that sat en banc with those that sat individually, and by interviewing judges who participated in the en banc decisions, this Article empirically examines the significance of many factors that might affect the propensity of district courts to sit en banc. It also provides evidence relevant to other courts, including the effect of court structure and composition on judicial collegiality and the propensity to sit en banc. For example, recent proposals to divide or restructure the Ninth Circuit have been based in part upon the belief that en banc proceedings are impractical in a very large circuit. Among the issues this Article examines are how the number of judges and the geographic distances between judges on a court affect collegiality and the likelihood of sitting en banc.

Suggested Citation

Taha, Ahmed E., Judicial Collegiality, Court Structure, and the Decision to Sit En Banc: Evidence from U.S. District Courts (March 2004). Wake Forest Univ. Public Law Research Paper No. 04-03, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=527722 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.527722

Ahmed E. Taha (Contact Author)

Pepperdine University - Rick J. Caruso School of Law ( email )

24255 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90263
United States

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