Press Releases

Senate Panel Approves Feinstein Measure to Create Temporary Federal Judgeships

–Bill would ease caseloads in California’s Eastern District; includes judgeships in six other states –

Washington, D.C. – The Senate Judiciary Committee today approved a measure sponsored by U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) that would restore temporary judgeships in two Federal Districts and extend temporary judgeships in six others. 

The bill restores a temporary judgeship in the Eastern District of California. There hasn’t been a new permanent judgeship for the Eastern District since 1978.  Since then, the area has seen explosive population growth.

Chronically understaffed, the Eastern District has the heaviest caseload on a sustained basis of any federal judicial district in the nation. At the end of 2009, the District had 1,089 weighted filings per judgeship – more than twice the national average.

“Today’s caseload in the Eastern District is so heavy that it has become utterly unmanageable,” Senator Feinstein said. “When federal courts cannot operate effectively, it means victims wait longer for justice and civil litigants wait years for lawsuits to be resolved. This is unacceptable and unfair. Restoring the temporary judgeship that was allowed to expire in 2004 will help ease this burden. We must ensure that the federal courts have the resources they need to do their work.”

The bill also restores a temporary judgeship in the District of Nebraska, and extends six temporary judgeships in Ohio, Hawaii, Kansas, Arizona, Texas and the Central District of California. 

The bill is cosponsored by Senators Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.); John Cornyn (R-Texas); Sam Brownback (R-Kan.); Pat Roberts (R-Kan.); Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.); Ben Nelson (D-Neb.); Mike Johanns (R-Neb.); Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii); Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii); Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio); and George Voinovich (R-Ohio.).