Resource Spotlight: Almanac of the Federal Judiciary

The Almanac of the Federal Judiciary is a must-use resource for background information on federal judges. Helpful to both litigators and judicial clerkship seekers alike, it provides a wealth of information not included in free public resources, such as the Federal Judicial Center’s Biographical Directory of Article III Federal Judges, 1789-present.

In addition to the Supreme Court of the United States, the United States Courts of Appeals, the United States District Courts and the United States Bankruptcy Courts, the Almanac also covers the judges of the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, the Court of Federal Claims, the Court of International Trade, and the United States Tax Court.

A typical district/circuit judge bio in the Almanac includes the following:

  • Contact info
  • Office staff
  • Biographical info
  • Publications
  • Noteworthy rulings
  • Lawyer evaluations
  • Civil & criminal practices/procedures
  • Senate nomination questionnaire
  • Annual financial disclosure statements

For both litigators and clerkship seekers, the lawyer evaluations are especially important, and the civil & criminal practices/procedures section (for district court judges) are also a boon to litigators.

Profiles of Supreme Court Justices go into greater detail, including such categories as “Media Coverage;” “Quick Sketch;” “Verbatim” (a quote or quotes from the Justice); “If You Need Her Vote” (explaining to Supreme Court advocates how to tailor arguments towards a particular Justice); “At Oral Argument” (highlight the Justice’s tendencies during oral arguments); “If You Meet Him” (topics that appeal to the Justice when engaged in conversation); “Just One Case” (a suggestion of which of a Justice’s opinions to read to get the overall impression of their judicial philosophy); and “Friends and Adversaries” (highlighting which other Justices are most likely and least likely to be aligned in voting, based on the most recent term’s statistics).

Two other unique aspects of the Almanac contribute to its must-see status. First, it is not limited to current information; it retains archived profiles of those judges who have retired or passed away (judges that have taken senior status are still included as active profiles). Second, it contains profiles for U.S. Magistrate Judges, for whom there is less publicly-available content available (including their omission from the FJC biographical database).

All in all, the Almanac is a total package for students researching federal judges for potential clerkships (both in terms of deciding to whom to apply and as essential in preparing for the interview process) and for litigators (including clinic students) who need to know how the judge to which their case is assigned ticks.

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