Residence Requirement of the Federal Circuit

Gerard Magliocca

Gerard N. Magliocca is the Samuel R. Rosen Professor at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Professor Magliocca is the author of three books and over twenty articles on constitutional law and intellectual property. He received his undergraduate degree from Stanford, his law degree from Yale, and joined the faculty after two years as an attorney at Covington and Burling and one year as a law clerk for Judge Guido Calabresi on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Professor Magliocca has received the Best New Professor Award and the Black Cane (Most Outstanding Professor) from the student body, and in 2008 held the Fulbright-Dow Distinguished Research Chair of the Roosevelt Study Center in Middelburg, The Netherlands. He was elected to the American Law Institute (ALI) in 2013.

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6 Responses

  1. Sean M. says:

    The same is true of United States Attorneys and Assistant United States Attorneys: “Each United States attorney shall reside in the district for which he is appointed, except that these officers of the District of Columbia, the Southern District of New York, and the Eastern District of New York may reside within 20 miles thereof. Each assistant United States attorney shall reside in the district for which he or she is appointed or within 25 miles thereof.” 28 U.S.C. 545(a).

  2. Gerard Magliocca says:

    Those make more sense, in that you might want a federal prosecutor to be in the community. (Personally, though, I think that is also misguided.) A national court like the Federal Circuit, though, lacks that crucial element.

  3. Orin Kerr says:

    I would guess there are two goals. First, encouraging a collegial court: Judges who live more than 50 miles from the office are not likely to come in to the office very often. Second, lowering costs by limiting opportunities for judges to ask for second offices nearer to their homes, in the same way that circuit judges often have one office at the circuit seat and another one locally.

  4. Howard Wasserman says:

    A third reason may relate to Gerard saying this is a “national court”–We want those who are part of national institutions to be in or near the seat of the Nation. You can question whether that should be so for a court, but the logic is at least there.

  5. Gerard Magliocca says:

    I wonder if it would be constitutional to impose a similar requirement on the Justices.

  6. TJ Chiang says:

    Having clerked on the court, I think the residency requirement actually makes a lot of sense, mostly for the reasons that Orin has already mentioned. It really does make a huge difference that all the judges are in the same building. That synergy is likely to disappear without the residency requirement: Supreme Court justices are not likely to demand that they be able to set up secondary chambers in more pleasant locations such as sunny California, but circuit judges have a history of doing so.