Columbus judge selected to serve on Budget Committee for the Judicial Conference

A Columbus judge has been selected to serve on a national committee that helps assemble and present the $7 billion federal judicial branch budget.

Chief U.S. District Judge for the Middle District of Georgia, Clay D. Land was appointed to the 11-member Budget Committee for the Judicial Conference last week by Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

"I am confident your contributions will be many," Roberts wrote in an April 8 letter to Land. "Your willingness to serve over and above the performance of your regular judicial duties demonstrates your commitment to effective judicial administration, for which I am grateful."

Land, who was appointed to the federal bench nearly 14 years ago by President George W. Bush, assumed the district's chief judge role last October.

He sought the appointment to the Budget Committee for the Judicial Conference, which will assemble the Fiscal Year 2016 judicial budget.

"Each year the chief justice puts out a request for people who might be interested in serving on various conference committees," Land said Monday. "So, people will put their names up for a particular committee and he ultimately decides the make-up."

This was the first time Land, 55, has sought such an appointment, he said.

"I think it is important for the judicial branch to be adequately funded so that we can not only perform our constitutional function, but do so as independently as possible," Land said.

The committee meets as a whole twice a year, Land said. The rest of the time, the work is done electronically.

Land said the letter from Chief Justice Roberts is one he will keep.

"I will put that one in the scrapbook," he said. "It is much better to have his signature on that rather than a case that has been reversed."