Issa Sponsors Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation Providing Critical New Resources to Federal Judiciary
Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Darrell Issa (CA-50),Ranking Member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet, introduced bipartisan and bicameral legislation to provide the federal judiciary critical resources in the form of new judges to relieve overcrowded dockets and streamline vital court proceedings. After introducing the Judicial Understaffing Delays Getting Emergencies Solved Act (JUDGES Act), Issa was joined by California Representatives Juan Vargas and Scott Peters, as well as Victoria Spartz (IN).A Senate companion bill of this legislation was introduced by Senators Todd Young (IN) and Chris Coons (DE).
Congressman Issa said: “California courts are both overburdened by caseload and facing a chronic shortage of federal judges, and the negative impacts of this twin inefficiency are serious. When there is an insufficient number of judges on the bench, cases are delayed – and justice right along with it. We now again have the chance to work in good faith and craft legislation that does not give a partisan advantage. This framework has the potential to achieve bipartisan consensus on a critical issue for our courts and for our country, while continuing to guide future legislation on this vital issue.”
Earlier this year, the Judicial Conference of the United States, a nonpartisan policy-making body for federal courts, recommended that Congress create 77 new district court judgeships to help alleviate this crisis. Congressman Issa’s legislation would enact the report’s recommendation and create the recommended judgeships after future presidential elections – with half of the judgeships being authorized on January 21, 2025, and the remainder on January 21, 2029.
“Like many courts across the country, courts in California face a shortage of federal judges. This is dangerous, as it places extreme burdens on the already overtaxed court system,” said Congressman Scott Peters. “The bipartisan, bicameral bill we introduced today addresses the issue head-on by adding 77 judgeships over the next decade. It’s a commonsense solution and I look forward to working with our colleagues in the House and Senate to get this done.”
“Our judicial system is overwhelmed with hundreds of thousands of pending cases. It has long been said that justice delayed is justice denied,” said Congresswoman Victoria Spartz. “This legislation addresses this issue for the most overworked regions of our country, including Indiana, in a productive not political manner.”
“Bicameral and bipartisan support for the JUDGES Act underscores the urgency of the judicial crisis we are facing in America. The overload of cases and shortage of judges, which has only worsened during the pandemic, is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. Our legislation will help ensure all Americans receive a timely day in federal court,” said Senator Todd Young.
“Lower courts across the country, including in Delaware, are struggling to keep up with growing caseloads,” said Senator Chris Coons. “For too long, Congress has failed to provide the federal bench the resources it needs to give every litigant their day in court. I’m glad to see bipartisan momentum in both the House and Senate to finally address this issue and ensure our judicial system is accessible to all.”
Congress last increased the number of federal district court judgeships more than 17 years ago – the longest gap since the original establishment of federal district courts in 1789. As of March 31, 2021, there were 696,789 pending cases in federal district courts across the country, averaging 803 filings per judgeship. These cases include civil rights claims, criminal prosecutions, environmental and consumer protection litigation, discrimination claims, challenges to government power, and holding corporations accountable for misconduct.
In 2018, Congressman Issa introduced the Judiciary ROOM Act, which added the Judicial Conference’s recommendation of 52 new permanent district court judgeships and converted eight temporary district court judgeships into permanent judgeships. While Republicans controlled both houses of Congress as well as the White House, Congressman Issa agreed to move the effective date of the bill to 2021, ensuring that neither party could expect to be the beneficiary of the new judgeships. On September 13, 2018, the Judiciary Committee passed the ROOM Act.
Darrell Issa is the Representative of California’s 50th Congressional District. The District encompasses the central and northeastern parts of San Diego County and a portion of Riverside County, including the communities of Fallbrook, San Marcos, Valley Center, Ramona, Escondido, Santee, Lakeside, El Cajon, Temecula, and the mountain and desert areas of the San Diego-Imperial County line. Issa served as the Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform from 2011-2015.