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Executive Order 11972—United States Circuit Judge Nominating Commission

February 14, 1977


By virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and statutes of the United States of America, and as President of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

SECTION 1. Establishment of the Commission. There is hereby established the United States Circuit Judge Nominating Commission (hereinafter referred to as the "Commission"). The Commission shall be composed ,of thirteen panels, each of which shall, upon the request of the President, recommend for nomination as circuit judges persons whose character, experience, ability, and commitment to equal justice under law, fully qualify them to serve in the Federal judiciary. Except as indicated below, each panel shall serve a geographic area set forth in 28 U.S.C. 41. The panels shall be as follows:

(1) Panel for the District of Columbia Circuit;

(2) Panel for the First Circuit;

(3) Panel for the Second Circuit;

(4) Panel for the Third Circuit;

(5) Panel for the Fourth Circuit;

(6) Panel for the Eastern Fifth Circuit, for the States of Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi;

(7) Panel for the Western Fifth Circuit, for the States of Louisiana and Texas, and the Canal Zone;

(8) Panel for the Sixth Circuit;

(9) Panel for the Seventh Circuit;

(10) Panel for the Eighth Circuit;

(11) Panel for the Southern Ninth Circuit, for the States of Arizona, California, and Nevada;

(12) Panel for the Northern Ninth Circuit, for the States of Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington, and the Territory of Guam; and

(13) Panel for the Tenth Circuit.

A panel shall be designated as, e.g., the "United States Circuit Judge Nominating Panel for The First Circuit."

SEC. 2. Membership. (a) The membership of the Commission shall consist of the combined memberships of the panels. The President may appoint a member of the Commission as its Chairman, with such duties as the President may assign.

(b) A panel shall be composed of a Chairman and other members appointed by the President. No panel shall have more than eleven members including the Chairman.

(c) Each panel shall include members of both sexes, members of minority groups, and approximately equal numbers of lawyers and nonlawyers. Except as provided in subsection (d), the membership of each panel shall include at least one resident of each of the States within the geographic area of the panel, but additional members may be appointed from any territory or State within that area.

(d) All members of the panel for the District of Columbia Circuit shall be persons residing within the District of Columbia or within twenty miles of its boundaries.

SEC. 3. Functions of Panels. A panel shall begin functioning when the President notifies its Chairman that he desires the panel's assistance in aid of his constitutional responsibility and discretion to select a nominee to fill a vacancy on a United States Court of Appeals. Upon such notification, the panel shall:

(a) Give public notice of the vacancy within the relevant geographic area, inviting suggestions as to potential nominees;

(b) Conduct inquiries to identify potential nominees;

(c) Conduct inquiries to identify those persons among the potential nominees who are well-qualified to serve as a United States Circuit Judge; and

(d) Report in confidence to the President, within sixty days after the notification of the vacancy, the results of its activities, including its recommendations as to the five persons whom the panel considers best qualified to fill the vacancy.

SEC. 4. Standards for Selection of Proposed Nominees. (a) Before transmitting to the President the names of the five persons it deems best qualified to fill an existing' vacancy, a panel shall have determined:

(1) That those persons are members in good standing of at least one state bar, or the District of Columbia bar, and members in good standing of any other bars of which they may be members;

(2) That they possess, and have reputations for, integrity and good character; (3) That they are of sound health;

(4) That they possess, and have demonstrated, outstanding legal ability and commitment to equal justice under law;

(5) That their demeanor, character, and personality indicate that they would exhibit judicial temperament if appointed to the position of United States Circuit Judge.

(b) In selecting persons whose names will be transmitted to the President, a panel shall consider whether the training, experience, or expertise of certain of the well-qualified individuals would help to meet a perceived need of the court of appeals on which the vacancy exists.

(c) To implement the above standards, a panel may adopt such additional criteria or guidelines as it considers appropriate for the identification of potential nominees and the selection of those best qualified to serve as United States Circuit Judges.

SEC. 5. Ineligibility of Commission Members. No person shall be considered by a panel as a potential nominee while serving as a Commission member or for a period .of one year after termination of such service.

SEC. 6. Travel Expenses and Financing. (a) Members of the Commission shall receive no compensation from the Government of the United States for their service as members of the Commission, but may be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, as authorized by law (5 U.S.C. 5702 and 5703) for persons intermittently employed in the government service.

(b) All necessary expenses incurred in connection with the work of the Commission shall be paid from the appropriation for "Unanticipated Needs" in the Executive Office Appropriations Act, 1977, or from such other funds as may be available.

(c) Expenditures authorized by this Section may be made only after the President has notified a panel's Chairman that he desires the panel's assistance in accordance with Sec. 3, above, and before the termination of appointments to the panel in accordance with Sec. 7 below.

SEC. 7. Term of Membership. Unless extended by the President, each appointment to a panel shall terminate thirty days after submission of the panel's report to the President. Within a reasonable time after termination of an appointment, or the creation of a vacancy for any other reason, the President shall appoint a person to fill such vacancy.

SEC. 8. Termination of Commission. The Commission shall terminate on December 31, 1978, unless sooner extended by the President.


The White House,

February 14, 1977.

[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 3:08 p.m., February 15, 1977]

Note: The text of the Executive order was released on February 17.

Jimmy Carter, Executive Order 11972—United States Circuit Judge Nominating Commission Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/241627

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