Monday, February 24, 2020

NEW: Senators McSally and Sinema Propose 42% Increase In Federal Judgeships For Arizona, To Alleviate "Judicial Emergency"

Arizona Senators Martha McSally and Kyrsten Sinema are proposing five new federal judgeships for Arizona, citing our "expanding population" and a "judicial emergency". If their new bill became law, the state would jump from 12 District Court judges - plus one temporary judgeship - to 17 permanent spots on the bench; that would be a 42% increase.

The Senators cite last year's recommendations of the Judicial Conference of the United States that four judgeships be added to Arizona. The Senators ignore the rest of the Judicial Conference's recommendations for new judgeships elsewhere, including five new appellate judgeships for the Ninth Circuit and 68 other permanent District Court judgeships around the country.

Arizona's caseload, as reported in the Conference's recommendations, do constitute what they define as a "judicial emergency". However, seven District Courts have more "weighted filings" per existing judgeship, and New Jersey, Delaware and Indiana's Southern District have a significantly larger

The federal bench has not been increased by Congress (and the President) since George W. Bush was President. (Arizona was among the last batch of new judgeships.)

Senators McSally and Sinema have already helped nominate two replacement judges to Arizona's District Court bench. Judge Scott Rash is awaiting a vote from the Senate and Judge John Hinderaker is waiting for the Judiciary Committee to forward his nomination.

“Arizona is one of the fastest growing states in the nation," said Sinema. McSally added that "our federal judges are burdened with heavy caseloads that hinder their ability to effectively do their jobs.” She also suggested it would help "address crime and illegal immigration."

The bill (text below) does not have a companion bill introduced in the House, and it would need to be approved by both the House and Senate for the President to leap at the opportunity to sign it and nominate the new judges. That is unlikely to happen without the other overloaded states, or in an election year (with split control of the houses of Congress).

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