2017 Capitol Hill Day Recap

FBA Makes Its Mark on Capitol Hill

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Over 60 Federal Bar Association leaders educated Washington lawmakers and Congressional staff about the federal court system and its needs during FBA Capitol Hill Day on April 20, 2017.

This year’s annual FBA advocacy event broke all-time attendance records, with the largest group of FBA national, circuit, chapter, section, and division leaders ever participating. Working off a common agenda of FBA policy priorities, the FBA leaders participated in over 200 meetings with House and Senate offices across the Hill.

FBA advocates focused on four FBA policy priorities:

  • • Adequate funding for the federal courts to fulfill their constitutional and statutory responsibilities, both for the remainder of the current 2017 fiscal year and the upcoming 2018 fiscal year.
  • • Prompt action in filling historic levels of judicial vacancies on the federal district and appeals court bench.
  • • Urgent action in authorizing, before May 25, 2017, the conversion of 14 temporary bankruptcy judgeships to permanent status and the establishment of 4 permanent bankruptcy judgeships, pursuant to the recommendation of the Judicial Conference of the United States. By law, any bankruptcy judgeship vacancy (even of a permanent bankruptcy judgeship) occurring in any of the associated districts after May 25 cannot be filled.
  • • Establish additional Article III and bankruptcy judgeships, as recommended by the Judicial Conference. The Judicial Conference’s last review of judgeship needs, completed in March 2017, recommended that Congress establish 57 new district and circuit judgeships (52 district judgeships in 27 district courts and 5 new judgeships in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals) and convert 8 temporary district court judgeships to permanent status. The Conference also recommended the establishment of four permanent bankruptcy judgeships.

Capitol Hill Day participants received a warm reception from Congressional offices regarding these priorities. Participants hailed from 27 states and the District of Columbia and represented 12 circuits, 39 chapters, 10 sections and one division.

“Capitol Hill Day represents a natural extension of the mission of the Federal Bar Association to represent the practicing bar as the foremost constituency of the federal court system,” FBA President Judge Michael Newman said at the conclusion of Capitol Hill Day. “We need to keep reminding Congress of the important role our federal courts play and their need for resources and support from Congress,” Government Relations Committee Chair West Allen added in thanking this year’s participants for their fine work.

In addition to their meetings with their congressional representatives, Capitol Hill Day participants had the opportunity to attend a lecture at the U.S. Supreme Court and meet with Scott S. Harris, Clerk of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The 2017 FBA Public Policy Priorities Brief and other support materials used in conjunction with Capitol Hill Day are provided below.
Bipartisan Budget Deal Funds Government, Courts Through September

House and Senate negotiators on Sunday agreed to an omnibus spending bill to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year through September 30, a more than $1 trillion package that funnels $7.4 billion for the federal courts — an increase of $156 million above the FY 2016 enacted level.

The Judiciary funding includes resources for federal court activities, to improve public safety through the supervision of offenders and defendants, to bolster the security of courtrooms and facilities, and to improve the speed and efficiency of processing federal cases.

The omnibus appropriations measure also extends temporary district judgeships in the following nine districts: eastern district of Missouri; Kansas; Arizona; central district of California; northern district of Alabama; southern district of Florida; New Mexico; the western district of North Carolina; and the eastern district of Texas.

The measure also extends temporary bankruptcy judgeships in the following five districts: Virginia; Michigan; Puerto Rico; Delaware; and Florida.

The legislation (HR 244) comprises the 11 unfinished FY 2017 appropriations bills, providing fresh spending instructions for nearly every corner of the federal government. Congress still needs to clear the spending package this week before current appropriations under a continuing resolution expire at midnight on Friday, May 5.

More than 60 FBA leaders on Capitol Hill Day on April 20 helped to promote passage of the Judiciary funding component of the omnibus appropriations measure.

View the FBA Blog
2017 Capitol Hill Day On-Site Materials - April 20, 2017

2017 Capitol Hill Day Preparatory Materials

2017 Capitol Hill Day Prep Call – March 22, 2017

CHD Prep Call Agenda
  1. Welcome
    West Allen, Chair, Government Relations Committee
  2. Scheduling Hill Meetings and Hill Logistics
    Bruce Moyer, Counsel for Government Relations
  3. Tips and Advice from CHD Veterans
    Maria Vathis and Ben Brodsky
  4. FBA Policy Priorities
    West Allen and Bruce Moyer
  5. Next Steps
  6. Questions?


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