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Executive Order 12059—United States Circuit Judge Nominating Commission

May 11, 1978

By virtue of the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and statutes of the United States of America, in order to clarify and amend the responsibilities of the various panels of the United States Circuit Judge Nominating Commission and to continue the Commission, it is hereby ordered as follows:

SECTION 1. Establishment of the Commission. Them 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 such other members as the President may appoint;

(c) Each panel shall include members of both sexes and members of minority groups, and each panel shall include at least one lawyer from each State within a panel's area of responsibility.

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

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

(2) Conduct inquiries to identify potential nominees;

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

(4) Report to the President, within the time specified in the notification of the vacancy or vacancies, the results of its activities, including its recommendations as to the persons whom the panel considers best qualified to fill the vacancy or vacancies.

(b) The Panel for the District of Columbia Circuit shall have the additional function of recommending nominees for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, in accordance with the standards and procedures prescribed by this order for recommending nominees for circuit judges.

SEC. 4. Standards for Selection of Proposed Nominees. (a) Before transmitting to the President the names of the persons it deems best qualified to fill an existing vacancy or vacancies, 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; and

(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 or vacancies exist.

(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.

(d) Each panel is encouraged to make special efforts to seek out and identify well qualified women and members of minority groups as potential nominees.

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 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 Section 3 above, and before the termination of appointments to the panel in accordance with Section 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.

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

SEC. 9. Revocations. Executive Order No. 11972 and Executive Order No. 11993 are hereby revoked.


The White House,

May 11, 1978.

[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 12:02 p.m., May 15, 1978]

Note: The text of the Executive order was released on May 15.

Jimmy Carter, Executive Order 12059—United States Circuit Judge Nominating Commission Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/244658

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