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113th Congress Report
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
1st Session 113-258
REALIGNMENT OF SOUTHERN JUDICIAL DISTRICT
November 12, 2013.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on
the State of the Union and ordered to be printed
Mr. Goodlatte, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the
R E P O R T
[To accompany H.R. 2871]
[Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]
The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the
bill (H.R. 2871) to amend title 28, United States Code, to
modify the composition of the southern judicial district of
Mississippi to improve judicial efficiency, and for other
purposes, having considered the same, reports favorably thereon
without amendment and recommends that the bill do pass.
Purpose and Summary.............................................. 1
Background and Need for the Legislation.......................... 2
Committee Consideration.......................................... 3
Committee Votes.................................................. 3
Committee Oversight Findings..................................... 3
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures........................ 3
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................ 3
Duplication of Federal Programs.................................. 4
Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings.............................. 4
Performance Goals and Objectives................................. 4
Advisory on Earmarks............................................. 4
Section-by-Section Analysis...................................... 5
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............ 5
Purpose and Summary
The purpose of H.R. 2871 is to increase efficiency and
better serve the public by reorganizing the southern judicial
district of Mississippi in recognition of the Judicial
Conference of the United States' decision to close an
underutilized court facility.
Background and Need for the Legislation
In 2012, the Judicial Conference of the United States
concurred in the recommendation of its Space and Facilities
Committee and the Fifth Circuit Judicial Council that certain
Federal court facilities be closed. This includes leased court
space in Meridian, Mississippi.
As the only court facility in the currently authorized
Eastern Division of the Southern District of Mississippi, the
decision to close the Meridian courthouse provided a catalyst
to a broader examination of the structure, organization and
composition of all Federal judicial districts in Mississippi.
An ad hoc committee of judges, which included the Chief U.S.
District Judge for the Southern District of Mississippi, was
convened to review the issues created by the closure and to
recommend the best course of action.
The primary goal of this committee was to recommend a
realignment that best serves the needs of litigants, jurors,
the bar and the general public. In addition, the committee
determined that the public interest and the goal of judicial
efficiency would be advanced by: 1) addressing certain travel
issues that were created by the county composition of the
currently authorized Western Division and; 2) renaming all the
divisions to reference them in a consistent manner that is
based upon their respective geographic location rather than by
reference to the city (i.e. Hattiesburg and Jackson) where
courthouses are located.
Subsequently, the committee's recommendations were reviewed
and endorsed by the Judicial Conference of the United States,
the Fifth Circuit Judicial Council, the judges, United States
Attorney and Federal Public Defender for the Southern District
of Mississippi, affected local bar associations and Inns of
Court. Specifically, the committee recommended: 1) abolishing
the Southern District's current Eastern Division; 2)
eliminating the statutory designations of Biloxi, Meridian and
Vicksburg, Mississippi, as places of holding court; 3)
realigning the remaining four divisions and places of holding
court; and 4) renaming the remaining divisions.
According to the Administrative Office of the Courts, the
proposed``[r]ealignment is expected to save approximately
$135,000 between jury wheel replenishment costs and expenses
otherwise incurred by the U.S. Marshals Service, plus any other
general savings in terms of judicial and juror travel--which we
expect will be significant.''
The Committee on Court Administration and Case Management
of the Judicial Conference of the United States noted that the
Chief Judge of the Southern District considers time to be of
the essence in enacting the needed statutory changes since the
court is in the time-consuming and expensive process of
replenishing its jury wheel and the court would like to
complete this task using the proposed new divisions.
The Committee on the Judiciary held no hearings on H.R.
On September 11, 2013, the Committee met in open session
and ordered the bill, H.R. 2871, favorably reported without
amendment, by voice vote, a quorum being present.
In compliance with clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of
the House of Representatives, the Committee advises that there
were no recorded votes during the Committee's consideration of
Committee Oversight Findings
In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules
of the House of Representatives, the Committee advises that the
findings and recommendations of the Committee, based on
oversight activities under clause 2(b)(1) of rule X of the
Rules of the House of Representatives, are incorporated in the
descriptive portions of this report.
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures
Clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of
Representatives is inapplicable because this legislation does
not provide new budgetary authority or increased tax
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate
In compliance with clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules
of the House of Representatives, the Committee sets forth, with
respect to the bill, H.R. 2871, the following estimate and
comparison prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of
Congressional Budget Office,
Washington, DC, September 24, 2013.
Hon. Bob Goodlatte, Chairman,
Committee on the Judiciary,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 2871, a bill to
amend title 28, United States Code, to modify the composition
of the southern judicial district of Mississippi to improve
judicial efficiency, and for other purposes.
If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Martin von
Gnechten, who can be reached at 226-2860.
Douglas W. Elmendorf,
Honorable John Conyers, Jr.
H.R. 2871--A bill to amend title 28, United States Code, to modify the
composition of the southern judicial district of Mississippi to improve
judicial efficiency, and for other purposes.
As ordered reported by the House Committee on the Judiciary
on September 11, 2013.
H.R. 2871 would consolidate the southern judicial district
in the state of Mississippi from five divisions to four. Based
on information provided by the Administrative Office of the
U.S. Courts and the Department of Justice, CBO estimates that
implementing the bill would have no significant impact on the
Federal budget. The courthouse in Meridian, Mississippi, is the
sole courthouse for the existing eastern division and is
scheduled to close under current law.
CBO estimates that the cost of consolidation and any
potential savings from operating fewer courthouses would not be
significantly different from the costs to the district under
the scheduled closing of the Meridian courthouse. Enacting H.R.
2871 would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore,
pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
H.R. 2871 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and
would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal
The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Martin von
Gnechten. The estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.
Duplication of Federal Programs
No provision of H.R. 2871 establishes or reauthorizes a
program of the Federal Government known to be duplicative of
another Federal program, a program that was included in any
report from the Government Accountability Office to Congress
pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139, or a program
related to a program identified in the most recent Catalog of
Federal Domestic Assistance.
Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings
The Committee estimates that H.R. 2871 specifically directs
to be completed no specific rule makings within the meaning of
5 U.S.C. 551.
Performance Goals and Objectives
The Committee states that pursuant to clause 3(c)(4) of
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, H.R.
2871 will improve the Federal judiciary's ability to deliver
services to the general public in the southern judicial
district of Mississippi in an efficient and cost-effective
Advisory on Earmarks
In accordance with clause 9 of rule XXI of the Rules of the
House of Representatives, H.R. 2871 does not contain any
congressional earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited tariff
benefits as defined in clause 9(e), 9(f), or 9(g) of Rule XXI.
The following discussion describes the bill as reported by
Sec. 1. Realignment of Southern Judicial District of Mississippi.
Reorganizes the southern district into four divisions to be
designated as the Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western
Divisions and designates as places for holding court the cities
of Jackson, Gulfport, Hattiesburg and Natchez, respectively.
Sec. 2. Effective Date.
Establishes the date of the enactment of this Act as the
effective date for both this Act and the amendments made by
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported
In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new
matter is printed in italics, existing law in which no change
is proposed is shown in roman):
SECTION 104 OF TITLE 28, UNITED STATES CODE
Sec. 104. Mississippi
Mississippi is divided into two judicial districts to be
known as the northern and southern districts of Mississippi.
(a) * * *
[(b) The southern district comprises five divisions.
[(1) The Jackson division comprises the counties of
Amite, Copiah, Franklin, Hinds, Holmes, Leake, Lincoln,
Madison, Pike, Rankin, Scott, Simpson, and Smith.
Court for the Jackson division shall be held at Jackson.
[(2) The eastern division comprises the counties of
Clarke, Jasper, Kemper, Lauderdale, Neshoba, Newton,
Noxubee, and Wayne.
Court for the eastern division shall be held at Meridian.
[(3) The western division comprises the counties of
Adams, Claiborne, Issaquena, Jefferson, Sharkey,
Warren, Wilkinson, and Yazoo.
Court for the western division shall be held at Natchez and
[(4) The southern division comprises the counties of
George, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Pearl River, and
Court for the southern division shall be held at Biloxi and
[(5) The Hattiesburg division comprises the counties
of Covington, Forrest, Greene, Jefferson Davis, Jones,
Lamar, Lawrence, Marion, Perry, and Walthall.
Court for the Hattiesburg division shall be held at
(b) The southern district comprises four divisions.
(1) The Northern Division comprises the counties of
Copiah, Hinds, Holmes, Issaquena, Kemper, Lauderdale,
Leake, Madison, Neshoba, Newton, Noxubee, Rankin,
Scott, Simpson, Sharkey, Smith, Warren, and Yazoo.
Court for the Northern Division shall be held at Jackson.
(2) The Southern Division comprises the counties of
George, Greene, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Pearl
River, and Stone.
Court for the Southern Division shall be held at Gulfport.
(3) The Eastern Division comprises the counties of
Clarke, Covington, Forrest, Jasper, Jefferson Davis,
Jones, Lamar, Lawrence, Marion, Perry, Wayne, and
Court for the Eastern Division shall be held at Hattiesburg.
(4) The Western Division comprises the counties of
Adams, Amite, Claiborne, Franklin, Jefferson, Lincoln,
Pike, and Wilkinson.
Court for the Western Division shall be held at Natchez.