Summary: S.2163 — 105th Congress (1997-1998)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for S.2163. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in Senate (06/11/1998)

Judicial Improvement Act of 1998 - Prohibits the granting of any interlocutory or permanent injunction restraining the enforcement or execution of a State law adopted by referendum or an Act of the Congress by a U.S. district court upon the ground that the State law conflicts with the Constitution, Federal law, or a U.S. treaty unless the application for the injunction is heard and determined by a court of three judges in accordance with the Federal judicial code.

Limits such interlocutory injunctions to 60 days. Bars Federal courts from granting additional interlocutory relief after the expiration of an injunction.

Prescribes time limits for the filing of appeals from orders granting such injunctions. Requires the Court of Appeals to dispose of such appeals within 100 days after issuance of the original order granting interlocutory relief. Makes orders upheld on appeal effective until 60 days after the date of appellate decision or until replaced by a permanent injunction.

(Sec. 3) Terminates prospective relief in civil actions in which relief binds State or local officials or in which parties entered a consent judgment binding such officials upon the motion of any party or intervener: (1) five years after the date the court granted such relief; (2) two years after the court has entered an order denying termination of relief; or (3) in the case of an order issued on or before this Act's enactment, two years after the enactment date. Sets forth conditions under which such relief shall not terminate. Terminates orders or consent judgments binding such officials automatically if a court does not rule on a motion to terminate within 60 days.

Authorizes Federal courts to appoint special masters in such actions during the remedial phase and upon a finding that the phase will be sufficiently complex to warrant such appointment. Limits special master powers and authorizes their removal by the judge at any time.

Bars Federal courts from ordering a unit of Federal, State, or local government to increase taxes as part of a judicial remedy.

(Sec. 4) Amends the Federal judicial code to allow interlocutory appeals of district court orders granting or denying class action certification made within ten days after an order's entry.

(Sec. 5) Bestows original jurisdiction on Federal district courts in civil actions involving minimal diversity jurisdiction between adverse parties based on a single accident where at least 25 persons have either died or incurred injuries exceeding $50,000 per person, subject to specified limitations. Directs the district court in which such cases are consolidated to retain those cases for determination of liability and punitive damages, and to determine the substantive law that would apply.

(Sec. 6) Extends the period during which any petition for judicial review of a final order or decision of the Merit Systems Protection Board must be filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit from 30 to 60 days after the petitioner receives notice of the Board's action.

(Sec. 7) Amends judicial code provisions regarding the Judiciary Information Technology Fund to repeal provisions subjecting information technology procurement to provisions of the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996 applicable to executive agencies.

(Sec. 8) Authorizes the Administrative Assistant to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, with the Chief Justice's approval, to accept voluntary personal services for purposes of providing tours of the Supreme Court building.

(Sec. 9) Directs that, for FY 1999 and thereafter, any portion of certain miscellaneous fees collected as prescribed by the Judicial Conference exceeding the amount of such fees in effect on September 30, 1998, be deposited into the special fund of the Treasury to be available to offset funds appropriated for the operation and maintenance of the courts of the United States.

(Sec. 10) Provides for the sunset of provisions requiring a civil justice expense and delay reduction plan.

(Sec. 11) Authorizes the Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts to designate judicial branch officers and employees to be disbursing officers and certifying officers. Lists rights and responsibilities of such officers.

(Sec. 12) Bars a writ of habeas corpus or other post-conviction remedy under the judicial code or other Federal law from challenging the custody or sentence of a person on the ground that such custody or sentence is the result of the person's voluntarily given confession.

(Sec. 13) Prohibits a Federal court from specifically barring the retrial in State court of a person filing the writ of habeas corpus.

(Sec. 14) Amends Federal law to require any Act of the Congress enacted after this Act's effective date to be prospective in application only unless a provision included in the Act expressly specifies otherwise. Requires the court to determine the relevant retroactivity event in an Act of the Congress (if not so specified) for purposes of determining if the Act is prospective in application only or affects conduct that occurred before its effective date.

(Sec. 15) Incorporates provisions of the Federal criminal code concerning remedies regarding prison conditions into the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (the Act).

Amends such Act to set forth court procedure for entering orders of prospective relief in civil actions regarding prison conditions. Authorizes plaintiffs to oppose termination of prospective relief on the ground that the relief is necessary to correct a current and ongoing violation of a Federal right. Sets forth specific elements to be included in answers opposing termination of relief entered before and after enactment of the Prison Litigation Reform Act. Describes: (1) requirements for responses to answers; (2) the burden of persuasion; and (3) required findings for terminating, or denying termination of, prospective relief.

Makes certain requirements regarding special masters under the Act inapplicable to special masters appointed before the enactment of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, unless their original appointment expires after such enactment date.

(Sec. 16) Revises provisions limiting attorney's fees in prisoner suits.

Authorizes any defendant to waive the right to respond to any complaint in any civil action arising under Federal law brought by a prisoner. Bars relief to a plaintiff unless a response has been filed. Authorizes the court to direct defendants to file a response to the cognizable claims identified by the court.

(Sec. 17) Permits the court, in any civil action brought in Federal court by a prisoner (other than one confined in a Federal correctional facility), to make findings that a claim was filed for malicious or harassment purposes or was knowingly false. Authorizes the affected State Department of Corrections to: (1) revoke such amount of good time credit accrued to the prisoner as appropriate; or (2) consider such finding in determining whether the prisoner should be released from prison under any other State or local program governing the release of prisoners.

(Sec. 18) Denies a Federal court jurisdiction, in a civil action regarding prison conditions, to enter or carry out a prisoner release order that would result in the release from or nonadmission to a prison, on the basis of prison conditions, of any person subject to incarceration, detention, or admission to a facility because of a felony conviction under the laws of the relevant jurisdiction, or a violation of the terms or conditions of parole, probation, pretrial release, or a diversionary program, relating to the commission of a felony under the laws of the relevant jurisdiction.

Authorizes the Bureau of Prisons to revoke any credit toward service of a prisoner's sentence awarded after the date of enactment of the Prison Litigation Reform Act for noncompliance with institutional disciplinary regulations at any time before vesting.

Repeals a provision of law requiring specific congressional authorization for salary increases for Federal judges and justices of the Supreme Court.