• Federal Judgeship Act of 2009
  • November 10, 2009 | Author: Chad C. Almy
  • Law Firm: Troutman Sanders LLP - Atlanta Office
  • On September 8, 2009, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) introduced the Federal Judgeship Act of 2009 (S. 1653) into the Senate. The bill seeks to establish 63 new permanent and temporary judgeships across the United States, including 12 circuit judgeships. Leahy believes the bill will “improve the effectiveness of our federal courts and provide federal judges with the tools to promptly render the justice that Americans so desperately need.” Congress has not passed similar legislation to address overwhelming caseloads in federal district and circuit courts since 1990, when if established 85 new judgeships, including 11 circuit posts. In the nearly twenty years since, federal appellate filings have increased by 42% while district caseloads are up 34%.

    In support of his new bill, Leahy points to the national average of 472 filings per district court judgeship, a number that Leahy contends is well above the Judicial Conference’s standards. In the 25 district courts scheduled to receive additional judgeships under the bill, the filings average is up to 573 per judgeship, with 10 courts topping out at an average of over 600 cases per judge.

    The bill could prove significant for employers, as employment matters make up a considerable portion of the federal docket. With the potential addition of 63 new judgeships, employers in many federal districts may soon be looking forward to a more expedient resolution to their litigation matters.