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State of District of Columbia

History of Reform Efforts: District of Columbia

Formal Changes Since Inception

Until Congress passed the District of Columbia Court Reform and Criminal Procedure Act of 1970, the federal courts in D.C. exercised both federal and local jurisdiction. The 1970 legislation established the superior court and the court of appeals to assume responsibility for local jurisdiction. Judges of these courts are appointed to fifteen-year terms by the president with senate confirmation. The legislation also created the judicial disabilities and tenure commission.

The judicial disabilities and tenure commission began evaluating judges who were seeking reappointment.

The judicial nomination commission is created to recommend candidates for judicial appointment to the president.

Mandatory retirement age of judges raised from 70 to 74.

Judges who intend to seek reappointment must notify the judicial disabilities and tenure commission within six months, rather than three months, of the expiration of their terms. Evaluations of judges seeking reappointment must be presented to the president within sixty days, not thirty days. The judicial nomination commission must submit its list of nominees to the president within sixty days, rather than thirty days, of the occurrence of a vacancy.