Appellate Circuit

The Fifth Circuit’s Judge Jennifer Elrod Discusses Pandemics, Cruises and Remote Courtship

Judge Jennifer Elrod; Even though our physical courthouse is not open, it has been very important to make sure all litigants have access to our court and that the public is aware of our decisions.

Coping With A Pandemic: 5th Circ. Judge Jennifer Elrod

Apr. 10, 2020

ELROD, JENNIFER W.

Today’s perspective comes from Judge Jennifer Elrod of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

What challenges has the pandemic created in your specific area of work?

I started off in Buenos Aires at the beginning of March. I had gone to see my former colleague Ambassador Ed Prado and his wife. We had a lovely visit and then took a 14-day cruise in South America that ended up lasting 30 days when we were not allowed to dock in Chile. Fortunately, both the health and the mood of the crew and the passengers were good and I was able to work on the ship.

By the time I arrived home, the world had changed significantly in ways that I could not have imagined.

We are adapting, like others, to different ways of communicating. We have recently decided to forgo our en banc oral arguments in May and are going to have the lawyers submit answers to written questions.

Even though our physical courthouse is not open, it has been very important to make sure all litigants have access to our court and that the public is aware of our decisions.

We have dealt with serious issues in our court family. New Orleans has been hard hit with the virus. We also lost a beloved member of our court community in Houston.

How are you and your family adapting at home?

At home, my husband Hal, daughter Catharine, and I have fallen into a good routine of work and online classes (for my daughter who is a student at Baylor University) during the day, and then family dinner and sometimes easy games like Uno at night. Our older daughter, Elizabeth, has left groceries on the porch for us, for which we are very thankful.

We keep a jigsaw puzzle up in the dining room and we play fun music. We are watching old classic movies like “To Catch a Thief.” We each take turns on the Peloton and take our dog Coco on walks. Coco is the only one who really seems to be loving it.

I have been attending meetings and even church using virtual meeting technology.

What is the most creative or productive response to the crisis you’ve witnessed so far?

One positive development at work has been the quick transition to the electronic circulation of everything. Our automation group devised a way to circulate our cases and all record support electronically for initial screening to the judges in all three states. We are very grateful to our court staff, who have kept things going and figured out how to do almost everything remotely

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The Fifth Circuit’s Judge Jennifer Elrod Discusses Pandemics, Cruises and Remote Courtship
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Laws In Texas is a blog about the Financial Crisis and how the banks and government are colluding against the citizens and homeowners of the State of Texas and relying on a system of #FakeDocs and post-crisis legal precedents, specially created by the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to foreclose on homeowners around this great State. We are not lawyers. We do not offer legal advice. We are citizens of the State of Texas who have spent a decade in the court system in Texas and have been party to during this period to the good, the bad and the very ugly.

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