Press Releases

Feinstein Bill to Create Four New Judgeships in California Advances

Will reduce overburdened federal courts in Sacramento, Fresno

Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) legislation to create new judgeships in federal districts facing an emergency due to excessive caseloads y passed the Senate Judiciary Committee today  15-3. All Democratic and a majority of Republican committee members supported the legislation.

The Emergency Judicial Relief Act of 2011 creates new judgeships in U.S. District Courts where the need is most immediate. The bill creates four new judgeships in the Eastern District of California; two in the District of Arizona; two in the Western District of Texas; one in the Southern District of Texas; and one in the District of Minnesota. Additionally, the bill converts existing temporary judgeships to permanent status in the District of Arizona and the Central District of California. All are supported by the Judicial Conference of the United States, which recommends roughly double the number of judgeships based on caseload. 

“The backbone of our democratic system is the court system.  But when we begin to shortchange it, when we begin to make caseloads so high that judges cannot do what they are supposed to do--it weakens the opportunity to have real rule of law in this country,” said Senator Feinstein.   

The Eastern District of California, which encompasses California’s Central Valley, is home to nearly eight million Californians, but has only six active district judges. The district faces the worst caseload crisis in the nation. 

The legislation is cosponsored by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), John Cornyn (R-Tex.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Al Franken (D-Minn.).