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Timeline Highlights Evolution of Judicial Conference

A new interactive timeline, created by the Federal Judicial Center, depicts the evolution of the roles and responsibilities of the Judicial Conference of the United States over the last century.

The Judicial Conference was initially created to give judges a formal mechanism to report on the business of the courts and communicate the Judiciary’s administrative needs to Congress. Today it serves as the Judiciary’s national policy-making body and maintains more than 20 committees that focus on a wide range of administrative and policy issues. These include bankruptcy, case management, judicial conduct, information technology, space and facilities, and rules of practice and procedure.

Since the first meeting was held at the U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 28, 1922, at the call of Chief Justice William Howard Taft, the Conference has grappled with many issues, including rising court caseloads and limited resources, natural disasters, public-health crises, and the safety of the Judiciary and the public.

“Chief Justice Taft was prescient in recognizing the need for the Judiciary to manage its internal affairs, both to promote informed administration and to ensure independence of the Branch,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., said in his 2021 Year-End Report on the Federal Judiciary.

This year marks the centennial of the Judicial Conference, which has helped ensure efficient administration of justice in the courts since 1922.

The timeline can be accessed at a newly updated section about the Judicial Conference. Other features include links to summary reports of Judicial Conference meetings; how the Conference is organized; the Conference’s roster of committees; and information about the Conference’s history. 

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