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with our 11 active senior judges, 10 magistrate judges, and 4
bankruptcy judges.
As you might imagine, it can be tough to lead a court with
so many independent judges who want to weigh in on all issues
large or small. Building consensus and complete uniformity in
court administration within this group can be a challenge. But
we are fortunate to have so many dedicated judges in our ranks.
As the vacancies on our court are filled, our court continues
to assist our sister courts, including the Districts of New
Jersey and Delaware, with their dockets by accepting cases on
intracircuit assignment. These courts are facing challenges from
losing judges and a lack of new appointments. They are also in
need of new judgeships because of increasing dockets in the area
of patent litigation. Those here who have cases in these district
courts may be surprised to find themselves in front of one of our
E.D.Pa judges. This is an area in which we will continue to help
our sister district courts.
Our court is also continuing to pursue and expand our
innovative, cutting edge programs like our award-winning
Reentry Court. The Reentry Court program has assisted over
350 individuals transition from prison into the Philadelphia
community. This program has reduced the recidivism rate and
saved our taxpayers millions of dollars. We are also proud of
our Mental Health Court and our Relapse Prevention Court,
the newest of our specialized court programs. The first three
participants in our Relapse Prevention Court just graduated
earlier this month. I had the privilege of presiding over a special
court proceeding with the graduates, their families, friends,
probation officers, court staff, and our judges. This was quite an
emotional court proceeding.
When I visited last year, I shared with you the initiatives our
court is undertaking to further our mission of administering
fair and impartial justice in a timely and efficient manner. These
initiatives fall into four broad categories:
1.) Increasing juror participation, diversity and inclusion,
and access to the court;
2.) Effectively managing public resources;
3.) Harnessing technology's potential in the courtroom; and
4.) Outreach to the community to increase the public's
understanding, trust, and confidence in the judiciary,
including the importance of an independent federal
judiciary in our democracy.
Let me briefly update you on some of these initiatives.
With regard to diversity and inclusion, we have continued
our efforts to increase the racial and ethnic diversity of our jury
pools. When I last spoke to you, we had adopted a few changes
to our jury procedures. The anecdotal evidence suggests these
changes are making a difference in the diversity of our jury pools.
We are also working to increase the diversity of our CJA Panel

by establishing a mentoring program to identify, recruit, and
train diverse candidates for these prestigious appointments. And
we are mindful of the need to diversify our workforce. Members
of our court recently participated in a diversity symposium
that brought together law students and lawyers of diverse
backgrounds to learn about pathways to the federal bench.
We also remain committed to increasing access to our court
through our three volunteer attorney panels: the Prisoner Civil
Rights Panel, the Employment Panel, and the Social Security
Panel. Last year, I appealed to you to consider accepting pro
bono appointments through these panels. And you stepped up
and accepted at least three cases from the Prisoner Civil Rights
Panel. I thank you for volunteering to take these cases on a pro
bono basis. I encourage you all to keep these panels in mind.
These cases provide an excellent opportunity for young lawyers
to appear before our court.
In addition to promoting pro bono opportunities in our own
court, we are partnering with state and local organizations to
encourage pro bono legal services as a critical way to empower
survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Although these
issues are typically addressed in state court, because of the high
rates of domestic violence and sexual assault in our country and
the need for legal representation for victims, Congress has tasked
the federal courts with promoting pro bono service in this area.
As courtroom technologies evolve and are increasingly used
by lawyers, we are beginning to work with local law schools to
keep our court in step with developments in this area.
And we are continuing to take advantage of community
outreach opportunities. Earlier this fall, I had the opportunity
to participate in a naturalization ceremony at a Phillies game.
This event was part of a national initiative to heighten public
awareness of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, and it
served as a mini-civics lesson that gave all those present an
opportunity to reflect on the privileges and responsibilities of
citizenship. We are also working with community leaders to
develop an outreach and education plan on jury service.
In these challenging times, we recognize that building a
strong partnership with the county bars and courts is critical
to enable us to fulfill our mission to provide fair and impartial
adjudication of our cases, in timely and efficient manner. I hope
you share this vision for our court and continue to support our
efforts to increase the diversity and inclusiveness of our court,
increase access to our courts, improve our technology, and
educate the public about the importance of an independent
federal judiciary in our society. Our democracy depends on
informed citizens and our times demand it.
Thank you for listening.

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