With the announcement of Judge Barbour’s retirement, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District issued a new order regarding judicial case assignment. Here is the Court’s Internal Rule 1.

My Take:

I want to know how the random assignments are made. It will be a letdown if it involves anything other than a lotto machine and ping-pong balls.

Some of this is common knowledge, like Judge Starrett getting all the Eastern Division cases. Other parts, not so much.

Assignment of Northern Division civil cases is interesting. Judges Ozerden and Bramlette get 2% of the civil cases each. Why 2%? Why not 0% or 10%?

I assume its an effort to evenly divide cases across the entire Southern District. It would be a good topic for Chief Judge Jordan to speak on at a CABA membership meeting.

I’m not crazy about litigants knowing who the next judge would be in the event of recusal. If they’d rather have the recusal judge, they can associate someone on the original judge’s recusal list.

Now that would be stupid, because judges are smart and would recognize what’s happened. And they wouldn’t like it. But I suspect some attorneys might still try it.