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Senate Judiciary Committee Advances Bipartisan Bill to Authorize Dozens of New District Court Judgeships

Based on March 2023 recommendations of the Judicial Conference, the JUDGES Act would authorize 63 new permanent district court judgeships and 3 new temporary district court judgeships to meet workload demands

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the Judicial Understaffing Delays Getting Emergencies Solved (JUDGES) Act, which would authorize 63 new permanent district court judgeships and three new temporary district court judgeships.

“As dockets become overburdened, it’s important that Congress uses its authority to ensure the federal judiciary remains efficient. These new district court judgeships will help alleviate the caseloads for overburdened districts and ensure the justice system remains accessible to all. I commend Senators Young and Coons for working in a bipartisan manner to address judicial emergencies, and I hope their work will be rewarded with swift passage by the Senate and House, and signage into law,” said U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Despite growing caseloads, Congress has not created a new district court judgeship since 2003 nor enacted comprehensive judgeship legislation since 1990. In March 2023, the Judicial Conference of the United States, a nonpartisan policymaking body for federal courts, recommended that Congress create 66 new district court judgeships to help alleviate overburdened dockets.

The bipartisan legislation is based on the Judicial Conference’s recommendations and sponsored by U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-DE), Todd Young (R-IN), James Lankford (R-OK), and Alex Padilla (D-CA). The new judgeships would be created over a ten-year period, allowing for effective response to the federal judiciary’s needs without giving an advantage to one party or president.

As amended, S. 4199, the JUDGES Act, advanced on a 20-0 vote.