One of the great strengths of the Federal judicial system is the ability to shift judicial manpower to meet critical caseload demands. This administrative authority is a statutory creation, first incorporated in the United States Code on the suggestion of Chief Justice William Howard Taft.' Because temporary judicial assignments are premised upon a statutory foundation, it is the particular responsibility of Congress to see that those assignments are used to effectuate the Congressional intent and, thereby, alleviate the critical caseload bottlenecks in the Federal judicial system. As Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Improvements in Judicial Machinery I conducted hearings in May, 1968 to review the operation of the temporary assignment power. This article will outline the statutory guidelines, examine the operation of the temporary assignment system as reported in the Subcommittee's hearings, discuss the shortcomings uncovered by these hearings and, finally, describe the judiciary's actions to improve the temporary assignment system.

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