United States Code
USC most recently checked for updates: Jun 10, 2023
Chief judges; precedence of district judges
In any district having more than one district judge, the chief judge of the district shall be the district judge in regular active service who is senior in commission of those judges who—
are sixty-four years of age or under;
have served for one year or more as a district judge; and
have not served previously as chief judge.
In any case in which no district judge meets the qualifications of paragraph (1), the youngest district judge in regular active service who is sixty-five years of age or over and who has served as district judge for one year or more shall act as the chief judge.
In any case under subparagraph (A) in which there is no district judge in regular active service who has served as a district judge for one year or more, the district judge in regular active service who is senior in commission and who has not served previously as chief judge shall act as the chief judge.
Except as provided in subparagraph (C), the chief judge of the district appointed under paragraph (1) shall serve for a term of seven years and shall serve after expiration of such term until another judge is eligible under paragraph (1) to serve as chief judge of the district.
Except as provided in subparagraph (C), a district judge acting as chief judge under subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (2) shall serve until a judge has been appointed who meets the qualifications under paragraph (1).
No district judge may serve or act as chief judge of the district after attaining the age of seventy years unless no other district judge is qualified to serve as chief judge of the district under paragraph (1) or is qualified to act as chief judge under paragraph (2).
The chief judge shall have precedence and preside at any session which he attends.
Other district judges shall have precedence and preside according to the seniority of their commissions. Judges whose commissions bear the same date shall have precedence according to seniority in age.
A judge whose commission extends over more than one district shall be junior to all district judges except in the district in which he resided at the time he entered upon the duties of his office.
If the chief judge desires to be relieved of his duties as chief judge while retaining his active status as district judge, he may so certify to the Chief Justice of the United States, and thereafter, the chief judge of the district shall be such other district judge who is qualified to serve or act as chief judge under subsection (a).
If a chief judge is temporarily unable to perform his duties as such, they shall be performed by the district judge in active service, present in the district and able and qualified to act, who is next in precedence.
(June 25, 1948, ch. 646, 62 Stat. 897; Oct. 31, 1951, ch. 655, § 37, 65 Stat. 723; Pub. L. 85–593, § 2,
Aug. 6, 1958, 72 Stat. 497; Pub. L. 97–164, title II, § 202, Apr. 2, 1982, 96 Stat. 52.)
cite as: 28 USC 136