On October 6, the Senate Judiciary Committee will consider S.1014, The Emergency Judicial Relief Act of 2011.

The bill, introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) in May, would create 10 new district court judgeships:

  • 2 for the District of Arizona
  • 4 for the Eastern District of California
  • 1 for the District of Minnesota
  • 1 for the Southern District of Texas
  • 2 for the Western District of Texas

The bill would also convert existing temporary judgeships in the District of Arizona and the Central District of California into permanent judgeships. The incumbents in the current temporary judgeships would remain in the converted seats, and the president would name nominees to fill the new positions.

The bill has bipartisan support from co-sponsors Senator Barbra Boxer (D-CA); Senator John Cornyn (R-TX); Senator Al Franken (D-MN); Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX); Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN); Senator John Kyl (R-AZ); and Senator John McCain (R-AZ).

Also on October 6, the committee will vote on five judicial nominees: Evan Wallach to the United States Circuit Court for the Federal Circuit, and four United States District Court nominees (Dana Christensen, District of Montana; Cathy Bencivengo, Southern District of California; Gina Marie Groh, Northern District of West Virginia; Margo Brodie, Eastern District of New York). 

All five were automatically held over by the Republican members of the Judiciary Committee at its last Executive Business meeting, rather than being considered on the day their nominations were first brought to the committee.

The creation of new federal judicial seats and the confirmation of nominees to fill them will help to ease the crushing case-loads that are currently overwhelming inadequately staffed federal courts and preventing people from gaining access to justice.

For the most up-to-date and comprehensive information on judicial nominations, visit the Judicial Selection Project webpage.

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