United States House of Representatives holds hearings on creating new federal judgeships

The United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet held a hearing today on the subject of creating new Article III Judgeships.

https://judiciary.house.gov/hearing/examining-the-need-for-new-federal-judges/

Honestly, I think there is very little chance of a comprehensive judgeship bill passing, though a few bandaid judgehips might be authorized in some districts. Democrats are not going to want to hand Trump anymore judgeships to fill then the 140+ he currently has to fill, plus more future vacancies opening. Republicans don’t want to pass a judgeship bill with the new judgeships deferred to the next administration, in fear of an incoming Democratic President and Democratic Senate in 2021 to fill them.

Until one party or the other wins the Presidency and a Senate majority large enough to force through a judgeship bill, it is unlikely we will get a judgeship bill passed.

The following pasted material is my own proposal that I have submitted to several Senators and Representatives regarding new judgeships. Even if a judgeship bill passes, we won’t actually see that many judgeships created, but my proposal is the ideal number needed to get judicial caseloads down to a manageable level based on longstanding judicial benchmarks. My proposal below would be the ideal bill, the real bill, if one were to pass, would be much smaller.

My bill would create 27 new District Judgeships that would take effect at noon on January 3rd, 2019, when the newly elected Senate convenes. These are essentially expedited judgeships for our most overcrowded districts. My bill would created 58 additional District Judgeships and 5 Circuit Judgeships for the Ninth Circuit, all of which would take effect at noon on January 20th, 2021, for the winner in 2020 to fill.

My bill would also make permanent 10 current temporary judgeships and it would change the 4 existing multi-district judgeships to single district judgeships.

A Bill

To provide for the appointment of additional Federal circuit and district judges, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled.

SEC. 101. SHORT TITLE.

This act may be cited as the “Federal Judgeship Act of 2018”.

SEC. 102. CIRCUIT JUDGES FOR THE CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS.

(a) IN GENERAL.—The President shall appoint, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate—

(1) 5 additional circuit judges for the ninth circuit court of appeals.

(b) TABLES.—In order that the table contained in section 44(a) of title 28, United States Code, will, with respect to each judicial circuit, reflect the changes in the total number of permanent circuit judgeships authorized as a result of subsection (a) of this section, such table is amended to read as follows:

(Table snipped for brevity.)

© This section shall take effect at noon Eastern Standard Time on January 20, 2021.

SEC. 103. DISTRICT JUDGES FOR THE DISTRICT COURTS.

(a) IN GENERAL.—The President shall appoint, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate—

(1) 5 additional district judges for the district of Arizona;
(2) 3 additional district judges for the northern district of California;
(3) 4 additional district judges for the eastern district of California;
(4) 6 additional district judges for the central district of California;
(5) 2 additional district judges for the southern district of California;
(6) 1 additional district judge for the district of Delaware;
(7) 3 additional district judges for the middle district of Florida;
(8) 3 additional district judges for the western district of Texas.

(b) EXISTING JUDGESHIPS.—(1) The existing district judgeships for the northern district of Alabama, the district of Arizona, the central district of California, the southern district of Florida, the district of Hawaii, the district of Kansas, the eastern district of Missouri, the district of New Mexico, the western district of North Carolina and the eastern district of Texas authorized by Public Law 115-31 and 128 Stat. 2351 shall be, as of the effective date of this section, authorized under section 133 of title 28, United States Code, and the incumbents in those offices shall hold the office under section 133 of title 28, United States Code, as amended by this section.

(2)(A) The existing district judgeship for the eastern and western districts of Kentucky (provided by section 133 of title 28, United States Code, as in effect on the day before the effective date of this act) shall be a district judgeship for the eastern district of Kentucky only, and the incumbent of such judgeship shall hold the office under section 133 of title 28, United States Code, as amended by this section.

(B) The existing district judgeship for the eastern and western districts of Missouri (provided by section 133 of title 28, United States Code, as in effect on the day before the effective date of this act) and the occupant of which has his or her official duty station at St. Louis on the date of the enactment of this act, shall be a district judgeship for the eastern district of Missouri only, and the incumbent of such judgeship shall hold the office under section 133 of title 28, United States Code, as amended by this section.

© The existing district judgeship for the eastern and western districts of Missouri (provided by section 133 of title 28, United States Code, as in effect on the day before the effective date of this act) and the occupant of which has his or her official duty station at Kansas City on the date of the enactment of this act, shall be a district judgeship for the western district of Missouri only, and the incumbent of such judgeship shall hold the office under section 133 of title 28, United States Code, as amended by this section.

(D) The existing district judgeship for the northern, eastern, and western districts of Oklahoma (provided by section 133 of title 28, United States Code, as in effect on the day before the effective date of this act) shall be a district judgeship for the eastern district of Oklahoma only, and the incumbent of such judgeship shall hold the office under section 133 of title 28, United States Code, as amended by this section.

© TABLES.—In order that the table contained in section 133 of title 28, United States Code, will, with respect to each judicial district, reflect the changes in the total number of permanent district judgeships authorized as a result of subsections (a) and (b) of this section, such table is amended to read as follows:

(Table snipped for brevity.)

(d) This section shall take effect at noon Eastern Standard Time on January 3, 2019. The temporary judgeships referenced by subsection (b) of this section shall be, any other provision of law notwithstanding, authorized and extended until noon Eastern Standard Time on January 3, 2019, when they shall be converted to permanent judgeships per subsection (b) of this section.

SEC. 104. FURTHER DISTRICT JUDGES FOR THE DISTRICT COURTS.

(a) IN GENERAL.—The President shall appoint, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate—

(1) 5 additional district judges for the district of Arizona;
(2) 3 additional district judges for the northern district of California;
(3) 3 additional district judges for the eastern district of California;
(4) 6 additional district judges for the central district of California;
(5) 2 additional district judges for the southern district of California;
(6) 2 additional district judges for the district of Colorado;
(7) 2 additional district judges for the district of Delaware;
(8) 1 additional district judge for the northern district of Florida;
(9) 3 additional district judges for the middle district of Florida;
(10) 3 additional district judges for the southern district of Florida;
(11) 2 additional district judges for the northern district of Georgia;
(12) 1 additional district judge for the district of Idaho;
(13) 1 additional district judge for the southern district of Indiana;
(14) 2 additional district judges for the district of Minnesota;
(15) 1 additional district judge for the western district of Missouri;
(16) 2 additional district judges for the district of Nevada;
(17) 3 additional district judges for the district of New Jersey;
(18) 1 additional district judge for the district of New Mexico;
(19) 2 additional district judges for the southern district of New York;
(20) 2 additional district judges for the eastern district of New York;
(21) 1 additional district judge for the western district of New York;
(22) 1 additional district judge for the district of Oregon;
(23) 1 additional district judge for the middle district of Tennessee;
(24) 2 additional district judges for the southern district of Texas;
(25) 2 additional district judges for the western district of Texas;
(26) 1 additional district judge for the eastern district of Virginia;
(27) 2 additional district judges for the western district of Washington;
(28) 1 additional district judge for the western district of Wisconsin.

(b) TABLES.—In order that the table contained in section 133 of title 28, United States Code, will, with respect to each judicial district, reflect the changes in the total number of permanent district judgeships authorized as a result of subsections (a) and (b) of this section, such table is amended to read as follows:

(Table snipped for brevity.)

© This section shall take effect at noon Eastern Standard Time on January 20, 2021.

SEC. 105. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this act, including such sums as may be necessary to provide appropriate space and facilities for the judicial positions created by this act.

As a historical comparison, my proposal would create 85 new District Judgeships and 5 new Circuit Judgeships for 90 total.

Total Article III Judgeships would increase from 870 to 960, for a 10.34% increase.
District Judgeships would increase from 673 to 758, for a 12.63% increase.
Circuit Judgeships would increase from 179 to 184, for a 2.79% increase.
Supreme Court & Trade Court judgeships would not change.

Compare that to the Judgeship bill of 1978.

Total Article III Judgeships increased from 521 to 673, for a total increase of 152 or 29.71%
District Judgeships increased from 394 to 511, for a total increase of 117 or 29.70%
Circuit Judgeships increased from 97 to 132, for a total increase of 35 or 36.08%
Supreme Court & Trade Court (then Customs Court) did not change.

And that Judgeship bill was followed by substantial bills in 1984 and 1990, plus minor ones in 200 and 2002, that would add 197 more Article III Judgeships.

But we are long overdue for another substantial judgeship bill. Several Article III Judges testified at the House hearing to the desperate state of judicial proceedings.

Again, my hope for a new judgeship bill is severely tempered by the state of modern politics.