1 1 (March 18, 2020)

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               Researh Sevice

Overview of Initial Responses to COVID-19

by the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts

and by Select Courts Within the Federal


March 18, 2020
This CRS Insight provides information related to initial responses to Coronavirus disease 2019, or
COVID- 19, by the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts and select courts within the federal judiciary.
Consequently, this Insight is not intended to provide a comprehensive overview of the policies and
practices adopted by each federal court or judicial entity. Additionally, given the rapidly changing
situation surrounding COVID- 19, the information provided in this Insight may be superseded by new
information from that which is described in the text below. If there are any questions regarding whether
such changes have occurred, congressional staff may contact the author of this Insight. The author can
also be contacted for information related to responses to COVID- 19 by other federal judicial entities or
courts not specifically addressed below.

Administrative Office of U.S. Courts
The Administrative Office of U .S. Courts (AO) is the agency within the federal judiciary that provides, in
part, administrative services and program support to federal courts. On March 12, 2020, the AO issued a
statement indicating that federal courts were individually coordinating with state and local health
officials to obtain local information about the coronavirus (COVID- 19). The flexibility provided to
federal courts to adapt to local conditions is reflective of past practices during other recent emergencies
(see, for example, the response by some courts to Hurricane Sandy in 2012).
The AO also created a task force to serve as a single point of contact to share information and guidance
related to the coronavirus outbreak as it relates to the Judiciary. The taskforce includes, in part,
representatives from the General Services Administration (GSA), the U.S. Marshals Service, and Federal
Occupational Health (FOH).

                                                               Congressional Research Service

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