These districts were originally part of the Fifth Circuit, but were split off to form the Eleventh Circuit effective October 1, 1981. For this reason, Fifth Circuit decisions from before this split are considered binding precedent in the Eleventh Circuit.
Chief judges have administrative responsibilities with respect to their circuits, and preside over any panel on which they serve unless the circuit justice (i.e., the Supreme Court justice responsible for the circuit) is also on the panel. Unlike the Supreme Court, where one justice is specifically nominated to be chief, the office of chief judge rotates among the circuit judges. To be chief, a judge must have been in active service on the court for at least one year, be under the age of 65, and have not previously served as chief judge. A vacancy is filled by the judge highest in seniority among the group of qualified judges. The chief judge serves for a term of seven years or until age 70, whichever occurs first. The age restrictions are waived if no members of the court would otherwise be qualified for the position.
When the office was created in 1948, the chief judge was the longest-serving judge who had not elected to retire on what has since 1958 been known as senior status or declined to serve as chief judge. After August 6, 1959, judges could not become chief after turning 70 years old. The current rules have been in operation since October 1, 1982.
The court has twelve seats for active judges, numbered in the order in which they were filled. Judges who retire into senior status remain on the bench but leave their seat vacant. That seat is filled by the next circuit judge appointed by the president.
The 11th Circuit has ruled that prisoners can file anything they want in federal court as long as they pay a filing fee. This is a split with the Tenth Circuit, which has ruled that even non-prisoners who pay filing fees cannot file in federal court if they are subject to an order prohibiting it and that non-prisoners can be incarcerated for filing in federal court without permission.[original research?]