Gavel Grab

Bill Would Create 91 New U.S. Judgeships; JAS Voices Support

Sens. Chris Coons of Delaware and Patrick Leahy of Vermont have introduced legislation to create 91 new federal appeals and district court judgeships, based on recommendations of the Judicial Conference of the United States. Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. chairs the Judicial Conference.

On Wednesday, Justice at Stake said in a letter to Senate leaders  that it supports the legislation.

“This legislation represents an important step toward addressing the growing disparity between the number of judges on the bench and the caseload that faces them,” wrote JAS Acting Executive Director Liz Seaton.

“Failing to provide adequate resources for our nation’s courts—whether these resources be additional judgeships or desperately needed funds—imperils our ability to live up to our Constitution’s promises. Inadequately providing for the courts harms the American people, who depend upon judges for the adjudication and protection of their rights, and American businesses that rely on the courts for the structural certainty necessary for economic growth.”

Chief Justice Roberts has highlighted concern about having enough federal judges to keep up with the courts’ workload. In his 2012 year-end report, he wrote, “I … encourage the President and Congress to be especially attentive to the needs of the Judicial Branch and provide the resources necessary for its operations. Those vital resource needs include the appointment of an adequate number of judges to keep current on pending cases.”

According to a Legal Newsline article, the legislation would create new judgeships across 21 states. To learn where the judgeships would be created, see the press release from Coons and Leahy. The latter is Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, and the former chairs the Senate Subcommittee on Bankruptcy and the Courts.

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