WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) -- U.S. Sens. Patrick Leahy and Chris Coons introduced legislation this week that would create 91 new federal judgeships in two federal circuits and 32 federal districts across 21 states.



Leahy, D-Vt., and Coons, D-Del., said Tuesday they based their Federal Judgeship Act of 2013 on recommendations of the nonpartisan Judicial Conference, which is headed up by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.


"Congress has left the judicial staffing of our federal courts essentially unchanged for 23 years, despite rapidly growing caseloads," Coons said in a statement. "This bill would provide much-needed relief to our overburdened courts, ensuring that they are better prepared to administer justice quickly and efficiently.


"Increasing the number judgeships will help cases move more quickly, reduce uncertainty preventing businesses from creating jobs, and permit every American who has been wronged to get their day in court."


Leahy, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, agreed.


"Federal judges are working harder than ever, but in order to maintain the integrity of the federal courts and the expediency that justice demands, judges must have a manageable workload," he said in a statement.


"This good government bill will improve the effectiveness of our federal courts and provide federal judges with the resources to promptly render the justice that Americans so desperately need and deserve."


Per the Judicial Conference's recommendations, the Federal Judgeship Act of 2013 creates five permanent judgeships and one temporary judgeship to the courts of appeals; creates 65 permanent judgeships and 20 temporary judgeships to the district courts; and gives permanent status to eight temporary district court judgeships.


Leahy and Coons pointed to a letter from Conference Secretary Thomas Hogan in April:


"Nationwide, our Article III district courts have experienced a 38 percent growth in caseload since 1990 (the last time Congress passed a comprehensive judgeship bill) while seeing only a 4 percent increase in judgeships during this same period of time," Hogan wrote.


"This situation has created enormous difficulties for many of our courts across the nation."


The Federal Judgeship Act of 2013 creates the following permanent judgeships:





  • 1 additional district judgeship for the District of Delaware;




  • 6 additional district judgeships for the Eastern District of California;




  • 2 additional district judgeships for the Eastern District of Texas;




  • 4 additional district judgeships for the Western District of Texas;




  • 6 additional district judgeships for the District of Arizona;




  • 10 additional district judgeships for the Central District of California;




  • 5 additional district judgeships for the Northern District of California;




  • 2 additional district judgeships for the District of Colorado;




  • 2 additional district judgeships for the Western District of Washington;




  • 1 additional district judgeship for the Southern District of Indiana;




  • 3 additional district judgeships for the Southern District of Florida;




  • 5 additional district judgeships for the Middle District of Florida;




  • 1 additional district judgeship for the Western District of New York;




  • 1 additional district judgeship for the Northern District of Florida;




  • 1 additional district judgeship for the Western District of Wisconsin;




  • 3 additional district judgeships for the Southern District of California;




  • 2 additional district judgeships for the Eastern District of New York;




  • 2 additional district judgeships for the District of New Jersey;




  • 1 additional district judgeship for the District of Idaho;




  • 2 additional district judgeships for the Southern District of Texas;




  • 1 additional district judgeship for the District of Minnesota;




  • 1 additional district judgeship for the Northern District of Georgia;




  • 1 additional district judgeship for the District of Nevada;




  • 1 additional district judgeship for the District of New Mexico; and




  • 1 additional district judgeship for the Southern District of New York.




The bill creates the following temporary judgeships:





  • 1 additional district judgeship for the Eastern District of California;




  • 1 additional district judgeship for the Western District of Texas;




  • 4 additional district judgeships for the District of Arizona;




  • 2 additional district judgeships for the Central District of California;




  • 1 additional district judgeship for the Northern District of California;




  • 1 additional district judgeship for the Middle District of Florida;




  • 1 additional district judgeship for the Southern District of California;




  • 1 additional district judgeship for the District of New Jersey;




  • 1 additional district judgeship for the District of Minnesota;




  • 1 additional district judgeship for the Western District of Missouri;




  • 1 additional district judgeship for the Northern District of Georgia;




  • 1 additional district judgeship for the District of Nevada;




  • 1 additional district judgeship for the District of Oregon;




  • 1 additional district judgeship for the Southern District of New York;




  • 1 additional district judgeship for the Middle District of Tennessee; and




  • 1 additional district judgeship for the Eastern District of Virginia.




Finally, it gives permanent status to the following temporary judgeships:





  • 1 in the Eastern District of Texas;




  • 1 in the District of Arizona;




  • 1 in the Central District of California;




  • 1 in the Southern District of Florida;




  • 1 in the Northern District of Alabama;




  • 1 in the District of New Mexico;




  • 1 in the District of Kansas; and




  • 1 in the Eastern District of Missouri.




For the full legislative text of the bill, click here.


Both the legislation and the issue of judgeships will be the subject of a judiciary committee hearing in September.


From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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