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Ranking Member Issa Discusses Need for Bipartisan Solution to Shortfall of Lower Court Judgeships

February 24, 2021

Washington, DC — Ranking Member Darrell Issa (CA-50), attended today’s Judiciary Committee Subcommittee hearing: “The Need for New Lower Court Judgeships, 30 Years in the Making.” He also addressed the need for more lower court judges. 

Issa stated, “More than 425,000 cases were filed in federal district courts and courts of appeals last year. 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.

“When there are insufficient judges to handle the workload, cases are delayed – and justice right along with it. A case that takes two years is unacceptable to any litigant. And that timeframe is occurring too regularly.

While a discussion of new judgeships is overdue, it is very important they are created in a fair and non-partisan manner. When Republicans were in the majority in the 115th Congress, I introduced the Judiciary ROOM Act, where we worked with our Democratic colleagues to craft legislation that allows for bipartisan cooperation on a critical issue for our justice system.”

Issa also invited testimony from Judge Larry Burns, Senior U.S. District Court Judge of the Southern District of California, who amplified an overview of trends in that District’s caseload statistics, which reflect an increasing demand on courts and judges since 2003. Judge Burns said: “In 2019, the Southern District’s weighted caseload was 634 cases per judge – well above the national average of 535 cases per judge. The effects of the increase in our caseload have been profound and have inexorably led to delay in the handling of cases – particularly civil cases. In most federal districts, it takes about 2 years on average to adjudicate a civil case from filing to final judgment. But in the Southern District of California, the median time is 37 months, which is too long.”


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CONTACT: Jonathan Wilcox
PHONE: (202) 740 - 0282