Senate Bill Would Create 91 New Judgeships

     WASHINGTON (CN) – Two Democratic senators introduced a bill that would create 91 new federal judgeships in two federal circuits and 32 judicial districts across 21 states.
     The Federal Judgeship Act of 2013 relies on the recommendations of the Judicial Conference of the United States, the national governing body for the federal courts.
     It was sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Christopher Coons, chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Bankruptcy and the Courts.
     The 9th Circuit applauded the bill’s introduction Wednesday, noting that it would significantly expand its federal bench, which takes in nine western states and two Pacific Island jurisdictions.
     It says the bill provides the 9th Circuit with four additional permanent judgeships and one new temporary judgeship.
     The 6th Circuit would also get an additional permanent judgeship under the bill
     Arizona meanwhile would get six additional permanent federal judgeships and four new temporary federal judgeships. One of its current temporary federal judgeships would be made permanent.
     In California’s Central District, home to the busy Los Angeles courthouse, the bill would provide 10 additional permanent judgeships and two new temporary judgeships. A current temporary judgeship there would also be made permanent.
     The Eastern District of California, with courthouses in Sacramento and Fresno, would take on six additional permanent judgeships and one new temporary judgeship.
     The Northern District of California’s San Francisco site would receive another five additional permanent judgeships and one new temporary judgeship.
     In San Diego, the Southern District of California would get three additional permanent judgeships and one new temporary judgeship.
     Meanwhile, the districts of Idaho and Nevada would each get another permanent judgeship. Nevada would also get one temporary judgeship, as would the District of Oregon.
     In Seattle, the bill creates two additional permanent judgeships for the Western District of Washington.
     Renowned as the nation’s largest and busiest judicial circuit, the 9th Circuit noted that it “accounted for 22.1 percent of all appeals filed nationally in fiscal year 2012.”
     “District courts of the Ninth Circuit had the highest combined criminal caseload, accounting for 27 percent of all criminal filings and 24 percent of all criminal defendants in the nation,” the circuit said in a statement. “Much of the circuit’s criminal docket involves illegal immigration and drug smuggling over the U.S.-Mexico border.
     “The circuit’s two border courts, the District of Arizona and the Southern District of California, ranked second and third in the nation, respectively, in the number of new felony filings per judgeship during the fiscal year.
     “The Eastern District of California is the circuit’s most overloaded court, due largely to the many civil matters raised by inmates in state and federal prisons within the district. Weighted filings per judgeship, which takes into account the varying complexities of cases, was 1,132, ranking the court second in the nation. The average weighted filings per judgeship nationally was 520.”
     The bill also provides judgeships for the Districts of Delaware, Colorado, Minnesota New Jersey and New Mexico.
     New judgeships would also be created for the Eastern, Western and Southern Districts of Texas, as well as the Eastern, Western and Southern Districts of New York.
     Florida’s Southern, Middle and Northern district would receive new judgeships as well.
     The last districts to receive new judgeships are the Southern District of Indiana, the Western District of Wisconsin; and for the Northern District of Georgia.

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