43 Third Branch i (2011)

handle is hein.journals/thirdbran43 and id is 1 raw text is: Newsletter of the Federal Courts             Vol. 43 0 Number I N January 2011 E Special Issue
2010 Year-End Report on the Federal Judiciary

n 1935-in the midst of the Great Depression-many Americans
sought respite from the Nation's economic troubles at their
local movie theaters, which debuted now-classic films, such as
Mutiny on the Bounty, Top Hat, and Night at the Opera. Moviegoers
of that era enjoyed a prelude of short features as they settled into
their seats. As the lights dimmed, the screen beamed previews of
coming attractions, Merrie Melody cartoons, and the Movietone
newsreels of current events. The 1935 news shorts also provided
many Americans with their first look at the Supreme Court's new
building, which opened that year.
Seventy-five years later, the Supreme Court's majestic building
stands out as a familiar and iconic monument to the rule of
law. The architect's use of classical elements and durable stone
has aptly captured the Court's imperishable role in our system
of government. Thanks to the genius of those who framed our
Constitution, and those who have maintained faith with its words
and ideals over the past two centuries, the American people
have a Supreme Court and a national judicial system that are the
model forjustice throughout the world. But that is no reason for
complacency. As the world moves forward, the courts must be
responsive to change, while preserving their place as the venue
where justice is achieved through impartial judgment and dispas-
sionate application of law. The judiciary, no less than other public
and private enterprises, must engage in strategic planning to
anticipate and overcome new challenges in the immediate and
more distant future.
TheJudicial Conference-the federal judiciary's policymaking
body-is examining the need to adapt for the future through
thoughtful and deliberate processes. The Conference, which
includes all the chief judges of the federal courts of appeals as well
as experienced district judges from each of the regional circuits,
is the proper body to chart a course for the courts over the long
term that preserves theJudiciary's unique role in our system of
government. Its members are engaged trustees of a cherished
institution, and they have an obligation secured by a solemn
judicial oath to safeguard the integrity of the judicial process. They
also have the perspective, experience, and wisdom to evaluate the

positive and negative effects
of change on the quality and
fairness of the judicial system.
This past September,
theJudicial Conference
approved the Strategic Plan
for the Federal Judiciary'.1 The
plan recognizes the funda-
mental mission of the courts
to provide fair and impartial
resolution of legal disputes,
and it embraces the under-
lying values that charac-
terize the Judiciary, including
independence, impartiality,    ChiefjusticeJohn G. Roberts,Jr.
excellence, and fidelity to
the rule of law. The plan identifies seven long-term issues that are
critical to the future operation of the federal courts. The Judiciary's
central objective is, of course, to do justice according to law in
every case. Accomplishing that objective requires, however, a
determined focus on subsidiary issues, including managing the
courts' public resources, maintaining a skilled workforce ofjudges
and support staff, deploying new technologies that enable the
courts to do more with less, and developing rules and procedures
that provide litigants with reasonable and economical access to the
judicial process. It also requires focus on issues that extend beyond
the courthouse, such as fostering positive relations with the
coordinate branches of government and enhancing the public's
understanding of the role of the courts.
The Judicial Conference's plan sets out goals and the strategies
for attaining them. The goals and strategies are necessarily stated
in general terms, which reflect the uncertainties that emerge in
any attempt to foresee the future. They are also subject to regular
review and revision in response to change. Those goals and strat-
egies, though inexact and alterable, are vital in setting national
'See http://www.uscourts.gov/uscourts/FederalCours/Publications/strategicPlan20O.pdf

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