According to Chief Judge Holderman during the annual state of the Northern District speech, the state of the Northern District is "good" — click here for the Northern District’s statement regarding the speech.  The Northern District was briefly at full capacity, between Judge Dow’s appointment to the Northern District and Judge Filip’s resignation to join the Department of Justice.  Other highlights of the presentation included:

  • The Northern District remains in the top ten districts in terms of median time to civil case disposition at 6.2 months.
  • Magistrate Judges Brown and Mahoney were reappointed to additional eight year terms; and
  • The Northern District’s 2007 civil case load remained nearly constant, falling only .5% from its 2006 level.

The Northern District’s steady civil case load is especially impressive in light of the Seventh Circuit’s reduced case load in 2007.  The Chicago Tribune’s Ameet Sachdev reported — click here for the story — that the Seventh Circuit’s Chief Judge Easterbrook, during his state of the Seventh Circuit speech, reported that the Seventh Circuit’s case load dropped 10% for the second year in a row.  Sachdev noted that federal appellate court case loads had averaged a 5% drop per year since 2000.  And Easterbrook explained the Seventh Circuit’s 10% drop for 2007 as based upon two primary factors:

  • The Seventh Circuit’s district courts saw an overall 6% drop in their case loads; and
  • The Seventh Circuit’s preference for bright line rules over totality of the circumstance tests made it easier for entities to settle their disputes, saying:

Rules make it easier for private parties to avoid litigation, or settle their disputes, without asking for appellate evaluation in every case.