Summary: H.R.5316 — 101st Congress (1989-1990)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed Senate amended (10/27/1990)

Judicial Improvements Act of 1990 - Title I: Civil Justice Expense and Delay Reduction Plans - Civil Justice Reform Act of 1990 - Amends the Federal judicial code to require U.S. district courts to implement a civil justice expense and delay reduction plan to facilitate adjudication, monitor discovery, improve litigation management, and provide for just, speedy, and inexpensive resolution of civil disputes. Requires: (1) civil justice expense and delay reduction plans to be developed or selected after consideration of the recommendations of an advisory group of a district court; and (2) the advisory group to complete an assessment of the state of the court's civil and criminal dockets.

Specifies the content of such plans which shall include provisions applying the following principles: (1) systematic, differential treatment of civil cases; (2) early and ongoing control of the pretrial process through involvement of a judicial officer in assessing and planning the progress of a case, setting early, firm trial dates, controlling discovery, and setting deadlines for filing motions and a time framework for their disposition; (3) monitoring of complex cases through discovery-case management conferences at which the presiding judicial officer explores the parties' receptivity to settlement, identifies the principal issues in contention, prepares a discovery schedule and plan, and establishes deadlines for filing motions and a time framework for their disposition; and (4) authorization to refer appropriate cases to alternative dispute resolution (ADR) programs.

Sets forth provisions for review of district court plans and reports and for periodic assessment of the condition of the courts' civil and criminal dockets.

Requires the Director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts to prepare a semiannual report on each judicial officer that discloses: (1) the number of motions that have been pending for more than six months and the name of each case in which such motion has been pending; (2) the number of bench trials that have been submitted for more than six months and the name of each case in which such trials are under submission; and (3) the number and names of cases that have not been terminated within three years of filing.

Authorizes the Judicial Conference of the United States to develop one or more model plans. Requires the Director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts to submit to the U.S. district courts and to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees copies of any model plan and any accompanying report.

Requires the Judicial Conference to: (1) prepare and submit to the U.S. district courts and to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees plans received within four years; (2) study ways to improve litigation management and dispute resolution services in the district courts, and make recommendations to such courts on ways to improve such services, on a continuing basis; and (3) prepare, periodically revise, and transmit to the U.S. district courts a Manual for Litigation Management and Cost and Delay Reduction.

Requires the Directors of the Federal Judicial Center and the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts to expand judicial training programs to include litigation management. Requires the Director of the Administrative Office to ensure that each U.S. district court has the automated capability to readily retrieve information about the status of each case in such court.

Requires the Judicial Conference to conduct demonstration programs under which specified U.S. district courts experiment with systems of differentiated case management and various methods of reducing cost and delay in civil litigation, including ADR. Sets forth reporting requirements.

Directs the Judicial Conference to conduct a pilot program whereby ten district courts designated by the Conference implement expense and delay reduction plans. Requires that a program study report on the results be submitted to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees and that the Conference initiate rulemaking proceedings to implement its recommendations or identify alternatives to be implemented.

Authorizes appropriations.

Title II: Federal Judgeships - Federal Judgeship Act of 1990 - Directs the President to appoint additional circuit and district judges (including temporary district judges) and to make modifications in certain existing judgeships. Authorizes appropriations.

Requires the Comptroller General of the United States to: (1) review the policies, procedures, and methodologies used by the Judicial Conference in recommending to the Congress the creation of additional Federal judgeships; and (2) report to specified congressional committees on the results of the review and any recommendations for revisions of the process.

Title III: Implementation of Federal Courts Study Committee Recommendation - Federal Courts Study Committee Implementation Act of 1990 - Requires the Federal Judicial Center to conduct a study and submit to the Congress a report on the number and frequency of conflicts among the judicial circuits in interpreting the law that remain unresolved because they are not heard by the Supreme Court, considering whether the conflict: (1) imposes economic costs or other harm on persons engaging in interstate commerce; (2) encourages forum shopping among circuits; (3) creates unfairness to litigants in different circuits; or (4) encourages nonacquiescence by Federal agencies in the holdings of the courts of appeals for different circuits that are unlikely to be resolved by the Supreme Court.

Requests that the Center: (1) study structural alternatives for the Federal Courts of Appeals; and (2) submit to the Congress and the Judicial Conference of the United States, within two years, a report on such study.

Directs the President, in any case in which a U.S. judge assumes the duties of a full-time office of Federal judicial administration, to appoint an additional judge for the court on which the judge serves.

Authorizes: (1) an extension of the term of office of a bankruptcy judge with the approval of the judicial council of the circuit; and (2) the judicial councils of two or more circuits to establish a joint bankruptcy appellate panel, subject to specified conditions.

Initiates a retirement program for Claims Court judges aged 65 or older, basing annuities upon specified age and length of service criteria as determined in accordance with this Act. Includes provisions to cover retirement due to disability. Precludes judges who elect this new annuity program from receiving civil service retirement benefits.

Permits the recall of retired judges to perform judicial duties, subject to certain conditions.

Sets forth the administrative features of the annuity plan.

Provides for the forfeiture of annuities by retired Claims Court judges who: (1) in the practice of law, represent a client in a civil claim against the United States; (2) fail to perform required judicial duties (such forfeiture to occur for a one-year period); or (3) accept Government civil office or employment compensation (such forfeiture to occur for the period the compensation is received). Makes forfeitures inapplicable in specified cases where a retired judge elects to freeze the amount of the annuity. Sets forth procedures with respect to revoking an election to receive an annuity.

Establishes the Claims Court Judges Retirement Fund. Authorizes appropriations.

Provides for survivors' annuities for survivors of Claims Court judges who retire under the system established by this Act.

Entitles retired Claims Court judges who elect the retirement system under this Act to lump-sum credits under Federal provisions governing civil service compensation.

Sets forth provisions: (1) authorizing judges of the U.S. Claims Court to elect to contribute a portion of their basic pay to the Thrift Savings Fund; (2) defining "retirement" and "retire" for purposes of this section to include removal from office on the sole ground of mental or physical disability; (3) authorizing sums so contributed to be invested and reinvested only in the Government Securities Investment Fund; and (4) specifying that, where such a judge receives a distribution from the Thrift Savings Plan and later receives a specified annuity, such annuity shall be offset by an amount equal to the amount which represents the Government's contribution to that person's Thrift Savings Account.

Makes Claims Court judges eligible for annuities currently available for bankruptcy judges and U.S. magistrates.

Amends the Federal judicial code to require a district court judge or a magistrate to advise parties to civil actions that they are free to withhold consent to the exercise of the magistrate's jurisdiction without adverse consequences. Extends the time period during which a magistrate may continue to serve after the expiration of a term of office.

Sets forth provisions with respect to abstention determinations under the Federal bankruptcy and judicial codes and with respect to remand determinations under the judicial code.

Grants district courts supplemental jurisdiction over claims that are so related to claims in civil actions of which such courts have original jurisdiction that they form part of the same case or controversy under Article III of the Constitution, including claims that involve the joinder or intervention of additional parties. Denies district courts such jurisdiction over certain types of claims involving diversity of citizenship.

Authorizes such courts to decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction if: (1) the claim raises a novel or complex issue of State law; (2) the claim substantially predominates over the claim or claims over which the district court has original jurisdiction; (3) the district court has dismissed all claims over which it has original jurisdiction; or (4) in exceptional circumstances, there are other compelling reasons for declining jurisdiction.

Requires the period of limitations for any claim asserted under the courts supplemental jurisdiction, and for any other claim in the same action that is voluntarily dismissed at the same time as or after the dismissal of such claim, to be tolled while such claim is pending in Federal court and for a period of 30 days after it is dismissed unless State law provides for a longer tolling period.

Defines "State" to include the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and any U.S. territory or possession.

Authorizes a civil action where jurisdiction is founded only on diversity of citizenship to be brought only in the judicial district in which: (1) any defendant resides, if all defendants reside in the same State; (2) a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred, or a substantial part of property that is the subject of the action is situated; or (3) the defendants are subject to personal jurisdiction at the time the action commenced. (Current law permits such actions to be brought only in the judicial district where all plaintiffs or defendants reside, or in which the claim arose.)

Permits a civil action where jurisdiction is not founded solely on diversity of citizenship to be brought only in the judicial district in which: (1) any defendant resides, if all defendants reside in the same State; (2) a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred, or a substantial part of property that is the subject of the action is situated; or (3) any defendant may be found, if there is no district in which the action may otherwise be brought.

Revises venue provisions concerning civil actions in which a defendant is an officer or employee of the United States.

Revises provisions concerning the removal of separate and independent claims.

Prohibits civil actions arising under an Act of the Congress from being commenced later than four years after the action accrues.

Increases witness and juror fees.

Grants the Supreme Court the power to define when a ruling of a district court is final.

Extends the duration of the U.S. Parole Commission.

Amends the Bankruptcy Judges, United States Trustees, and Family Farmer Bankruptcy Act of 1986 to: (1) extend the duration of the Bankruptcy Administrator program; (2) grant the Bankruptcy Administrator standing to raise, and appear and be heard on, any issue under the Federal bankruptcy code; and (3) make the powers of the court to issue orders, process, or judgment to carry out provisions of the Federal bankruptcy code effective as of the date of the enactment of this Act.

Requires the Judicial Conference to establish a special committee to conduct a study of the Federal defender program. Directs such committee to assess the effectiveness of such program, including an assessment of: (1) the impact of judicial involvement in the selection and compensation of, and the independence of, Federal defender organizations; (2) equal employment and affirmative action procedures in the various Federal defender programs; (3) the adequacy of compensation for legal services; (4) the quality of representation; and (5) the provision of services or funds to financially eligible for noncustodial transportation and subsistence expenses for persons who have been arrested but not convicted. Requires such committee to report and make recommendations to the Judicial Conference and the House and Senate Judiciary Committees by March 31, 1992.

Amends the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 to preclude the treatment of certain compensation received by a senior judge for teaching as outside earned income.

Requires the chief judge of each circuit to summon biennial judicial conferences (authorizes annual conferences). (Current law requires the chief judge to summon annual conferences.) Removes the requirement for summoning the U.S. District Court for the District of the Canal Zone to such conferences. Requires the District Court of the Northern Mariana Islands to be summoned.

Changes the name of a "U.S. magistrate" to a "U.S. magistrate judge."

Sets forth eligibility requirements for judicial survivors' annuities in cases where the death of the judicial official was by assassination. Requires the Director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts to determine whether the killing of a judicial official was an assassination, subject to review by the Judicial Conference of the United States. Applies annuity provisions to all judges assassinated on or after May 28, 1979. Sets forth provisions concerning retroactive application of annuity eligibility.

Revises provisions concerning the composition of the judicial council to provide for an equal number of circuit and district judges on such council.

Sets forth miscellaneous provisions with respect to the sites of courts in various districts, the election of annuities by retiring bankruptcy judges and magistrates, and miscellaneous technical amendments.

Title IV: Judicial Discipline and Judicial Removal - Judicial Discipline and Removal Reform Act of 1990 - Subtitle I: Judicial Discipline - Amends the Judicial Councils Reform and Judicial Conduct and Disability Act of 1980 to authorize a circuit chief judge to identify a complaint for purposes of judicial discipline, thereby dispensing with the filing of a written complaint. Requires the judge, when exercising such discretion, to enter a written order stating the reason for waiving the written complaint.

Authorizes a circuit or district judge appointed to a special investigative committee to serve on such committee after becoming a senior judge or, in the case of the chief judge of the circuit, after his or her term as chief judge terminates. Specifies that if a judge appointed to such a committee dies or retires from office while serving on the committee, the chief judge of the circuit may appoint another judge to the committee.

Requires the Clerk of the House of Representatives, upon receipt of an impeachment determination and the record of the proceedings, to make available to the public the determination and any reasons for the determination.

Authorizes the judicial council of the circuit to release a copy of the report of a special investigative committee to the person whose complaint initiated the report and to the judge or magistrate whose conduct is the subject of the complaint.

Authorizes the Judicial Conference of the United States to transmit to the House of Representatives a determination that impeachment may be warranted, together with appropriate court records, if a judge or magistrate has been convicted of a felony and all direct appeals have been exhausted without success.

Prohibits the Judicial Conference or judicial councils from using their rulemaking authority to create statutes of limitations regarding the filing of complaints under such Act.

Authorizes the chief judge to conclude a disciplinary proceeding upon finding that the complaint is no longer necessary because of intervening events.

Grants judicial councils authority to dismiss complaints.

Authorizes the judicial council, following dismissal of the complaint, to recommend to the Director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts that reimbursement of reasonable expenses, including attorneys fees, be awarded to a judge who has incurred expenses during an investigation which would not have been incurred but for the requirements of such Act.

Authorizes a judicial council or special committee to institute contempt proceedings to enforce orders not obeyed by court officers or employees.

Deletes the phrase "to the best of my abilities and understanding, agreeably to" from the statutory oath of office for Federal judges.

Amends the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 to provide that whenever the Chairman of the Judicial Conference refers a name to the Attorney General regarding an ethical problem involving a Federal judge% the judicial council of the circuit in which the judge resides must also be notified.

Authorizes the advisory committees appointed by the courts of appeals to assist in the drafting of judicial discipline rules.

Subtitle II: National Commission on Judicial Impeachment - National Commission on Judicial Discipline and Removal Act - Establishes the National Commission on Judicial Discipline and Removal to: (1) investigate and study the problems and issues involved in the appointment and tenure (including discipline and removal) of article III judges; (2) evaluate the advisability of proposing alternatives to current arrangements with respect to such problems and issues; and (3) prepare and submit to the Congress, the Chief Justice, and the President a report detailing its findings and conclusions.

Terminates the Commission 30 days after the submission of such report.

Authorizes appropriations.

Title V: Television Program Improvement - Television Program Improvement Act of 1990 - Exempts from the antitrust laws any joint discussion, consideration, review, action, or agreement by or among persons in the television industry for developing and disseminating voluntary guidelines designed to alleviate the negative impact of violence in telecast material, provided the joint action does not result in a boycott of any person. Applies such exemption to only those joint activities engaged in within three years after enactment of this Act.

Defines "person in the television industry" to include any entity which telecasts programming or which produces programming for telecasting.

Title VI: Visual Artists Rights - Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 - Amends the copyright law to define a "work of visual art." Grants the author of a work of visual art the right to claim authorship of such work when publicly displayed, independent of other exclusive rights, and to disclaim authorship of such work because of substantial distortion or alteration that harms his or her reputation. Grants such an author the right to prevent any destruction, distortion, mutilation, or other modification of that work which would harm his or her reputation or honor.

Specifies that such rights endure for a term consisting of the author's life (or, in the case of a joint work, during the life of the last surviving author) with respect to visual art works created on or after the effective date of this Act.

Waives artists' rights when a work cannot be removed from a building without distortion, mutilation, or alteration and the author consented to the installation. Directs the Register of Copyrights to establish a recordation system for authors of visual art works that have been incorporated into a building.

Declares that this Act preempts equivalent rights under State law.

Includes within the scope of copyright infringement violations of the rights conferred by this Act. Declares that: (1) criminal infringement penalties do not apply to such violations; and (2) registration is not a prerequisite to copyright infringement actions for violations of this Act.

Directs the Register of Copyrights to report to the Congress the results of: (1) a study regarding the extent to which authorship rights have been waived; and (2) a feasibility study regarding new requirements enabling authors of works of visual art to participate in the commercial exploitation of their work after its first sale. Requires submission of such report within 18 months after enactment of this Act.

Specifies that this title does not authorize any governmental entity to take any action or enforce restrictions prohibited by the First Amendment of the Constitution.

Title VII: Architectural Works - Architectural Works Copyright Protection Act - Amends Federal copyright law to define and include architectural works within the scope of copyright subject matter.

Excludes from such copyright any right to prevent a pictorial representation of an architectural work if it is embodied in a structure located in or ordinarily visible from a public place.

Permits the owners of a structure embodying an architectural work to make certain alterations to such building or authorize the destruction of such building without the copyright owner's consent.

Specifies that nothing in this title limits any rights or remedies under the common law or statutes of any State with respect to State and local landmarks, historic preservation, zoning, or building codes related to protected architectural works.

Title VIII: Computer Software - Computer Software Rental Amendments Act of 1990 - Amends Federal copyright law to prohibit any person in possession of a computer software program from renting, leasing, or lending it for direct or indirect commercial advantage unless authorized to do so by the copyright owner.

Excludes certain home video game software from the prohibition (including a computer program embodied in a machine or product which cannot be copied during the ordinary operation of such machine or product).

Authorizes nonprofit libraries to lend computer programs if a copyright warning has been affixed to the computer program packaging.

Requires the Register of Copyrights to report to the Congress regarding the efficacy of this Act.

Sets forth remedies for copyright infringement in cases of violations of this Act.

Entitles the owner of a lawfully-made copy of an electronic audio-visual game intended for coin-operated equipment to publicly perform or display it on such equipment without the authority of the copyright owner. States that this provision does not apply if the copyright owner is not also the copyright owner of the work of authorship embodied in such audio-visual game.

Authorizes the Register of Copyrights to record and maintain records of computer shareware. Authorizes the deposit of copies of such shareware in the Machine-Readable Collections Reading Room of the Library of Congress.