Chief Justice John Roberts recently released his 2012 Year End Report on the Federal Judiciary, detailing the activity of the federal court system. Chief Justice Roberts provided statistics for the entire federal court system. I will mention some information relating to certain of those courts below:
In 2012, caseloads increased in the U.S. appellate courts and probation offices, but decreased in the U.S. district courts, bankruptcy courts, and pretrial services system. Filings in the regional courts of appeals grew four percent to 57,501. Total case filings in the district courts, however, declined five percent to 372,563. The total number of cases filed in the Supreme Court decreased from 7,857 filings in the 2010 Term to 7,713 filings in the 2011 Term, a decrease of 1.8 percent. During the 2011 Term, 79 cases were argued and 73 were disposed of in 64 signed opinions, compared to 86 cases argued and 83 disposed of in 75 signed opinions in the 2010 Term.
Filings in the regional courts of appeals rose four percent to 57,501. Growth oc¬curred in all types of appeals except civil appeals, which decreased one percent. Criminal appeals climbed 12 percent. Civil case filings in the U.S. district courts fell four percent to 278,442. Cases involving diversity of citizenship (i.e., cases between citizens of different states) declined 15 percent, mainly because of a drop in multidistrict litigation filings.
You might want to read the Roberts report in its entirety. Obviously, it covers much more than what I have included above. It’s quite evident that those in the federal system stay very busy. My guess, however, is that most folks really know very little about the federal courts and all that they must deal with.
Source: Alabama Law Weekly
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