Legislation Authorizing the Transfer of Federal Judges From One District to Another

Headnotes: 

Congress may by statute confer new duties on officers of the United States as long as those new duties are “germane” to their existing functions, without the necessity of reappointment under the Appointments Clause of the Constitution. Shoemaker v. United States, 147 U.S. 282, 301 (1893).

Constitutionality of legislation authorizing the transfer of a Federal district judge from one district to another depends upon whether the transfer is viewed as the modification of an existing position or the filling of an entirely new office.

Transfer provision goes against a tradition of regionalism in the selection of district judges, and potentially infringes upon the President’s power to appoint judges to the District of Columbia bench, and should be opposed on policy grounds even if not clearly forbidden by the Appointments Clause.

Updated July 9, 2014