Ashurst-Sumners Act | Definition

Ashurst-Sumners Act

The Ashurst-Sumners Act, also known as the Federal Docket Equalization Act, is a United States federal law that was enacted in 1935. The Act was designed to reduce the workload of federal courts by equalizing the number of cases that each court was required to handle. The Act established a formula for determining the number of cases that each federal court was required to dispose of each year, based on the population of the court’s jurisdiction and the number of judges on the court. The Act also authorized the appointment of additional judges to help relieve overcrowded dockets in certain courts. The Ashurst-Sumners Act was a response to concerns about the growing backlog of cases in the federal courts and was intended to ensure that all federal courts were able to handle their caseloads in a timely and efficient manner. The Act remains in effect today and continues to play a role in shaping the workload of the federal courts.


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