Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Rodriguez: Eleventh Circuit Declaration of Emergency contemplated by Congress

In U.S. v. Rodriguez, No. 12-14629 (June 5, 2014), the Court (Anderson, Moody & Schlesinger, b.d.), held that General Order No. 41 of the Chief Judge of the Court, entered on December 30, 2013, declaring that an emergency exists during which the determination of cases may be conducted by panels composed of a majority of judges who are not members of the Court, was “clearly contemplated by Congress in 28 U.S.C. § 46(b).” The Court reasoned that, like the illness of a judge that makes him unavailable, the vacancies on the Circuit (the Circuit is authorized to have 12 circuit judges but has only eight, with four vacancies), together with the Circuit’s “heavy case load,” qualifies as an “emergency contemplated by Congress.” The Court cited the “precedent” of two prior Fifth Circuit emergencies declared in like circumstances.