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Judicial Conduct & Disability

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Pursuant to statute, 28 U.S.C. §§ 351 et al., and the Rules for Judicial Conduct and Judicial Disability Proceedings , any person may file a written complaint with the circuit executive concerning the actions or behavior of a judge of this court. The form that may be used for a complaint is provided at the end of the rules.

A complaint against a judge "must be filed with the circuit clerk in the jurisdiction in which the subject judge holds office." Rule 7(a)(1) of the Rules for Judicial Conduct and Judicial Disability Proceedings. A complaint filed with this court concerning a judge who is not a member of this court or who did not sit by designation with this court will be dismissed. Rule 11(c)(1)(F) of the Rules for Judicial Conduct and Judicial Disability Proceedings.

Many complaints are dismissed because they pertain to the merits of a case or because the complaint is frivolous or lacking sufficient evidence to raise an inference that misconduct has occurred. See 28 U.S.C. § 352(b)(1)(A). Thus, the complaint procedure is not an appropriate way to challenge the court's decision in a particular case.

Beginning in 2008, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit will post public orders pertaining to judicial misconduct and disability complaints on this page. Usually, the name of the complainant or the judge complained about is not disclosed in an order. Pursuant to the Rules, the orders will be posted when final action on a complaint has been taken and the order is no longer subject to review. Paper copies of the orders are also available to the public from the circuit executive's office.