H. Rept. 113-258 - 113th Congress (2013-2014)
November 12, 2013, As Reported by the Judiciary Committee

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House Report 113-258 - REALIGNMENT OF SOUTHERN JUDICIAL DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI




[House Report 113-258]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]


113th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session                                                    113-258

======================================================================



 
               REALIGNMENT OF SOUTHERN JUDICIAL DISTRICT 
                             OF MISSISSIPPI

                                _______
                                

 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 
                               following

                              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.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page

Purpose and Summary..............................................     1
Background and Need for the Legislation..........................     2
Hearings.........................................................     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.

                                Hearings

    The Committee on the Judiciary held no hearings on H.R. 
2871.

                        Committee Consideration

    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.

                            Committee Votes

    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 
H.R. 2871.

                      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 
expenditures.

               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 
1974:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               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.
            Sincerely,
                                      Douglas W. Elmendorf,
                                                  Director.

Enclosure

cc:
        Honorable John Conyers, Jr.
        Ranking Member
_______________________________________________________________________

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 
governments.
    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 
manner.

                          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.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

    The following discussion describes the bill as reported by 
the Committee.
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 
this Act.

         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) * * *

                           [Southern District

  [(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 
Vicksburg.
          [(4) The southern division comprises the counties of 
        George, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Pearl River, and 
        Stone.
Court for the southern division shall be held at Biloxi and 
Gulfport.
          [(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 
Hattiesburg.]

                           Southern District

  (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 
        Walthall.
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.