Here's the introduction:
At the end of 2013, the chief judge of the Eleventh Circuit declared a state of emergency, exempting the court from the requirement in 28 U.S.C. §46(b) that each of its panels include a majority of Eleventh Circuit judges. As would later become clear, the emergency arose from multiple vacancies on the court, which exacerbated the effect of its heavy per-judge caseload. Throughout 2014, emergency panels consisting of one Eleventh Circuit judge and two visiting judges resolved over one hundred appeals.
In a petition for rehearing filed in one such case, an unsuccessful appellant challenged the validity of the emergency panel. Rather than resolving the petition summarily, the emergency panel instead published a precedential opinion upholding the certified emergency. Although other circuits have certified section 46(b) emergencies based on the vacancy-caseload combination, the Eleventh Circuit's opinion is the first federal appellate decision addressing a challenge to such an emergency. Because extended vacancies and heavy caseloads are likely to persist, that opinion invites new scrutiny of the emergency exception to section 46(b)'s majority requirement. This article begins that undertaking.Adler defends Chief Judge Carnes's application of the emergency exception.
If you're interested in the Eleventh Circuit -- or in the federal courts of appeals in general -- do check out Adler's well written and thoroughly researched article.