Judicial Vacancies Slow the Wheels of Justice

Headline Legal News Posted on

As the Senate prepares to vote on whether Elena Kagan should fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court, there remain a substantial number of other vacancies in the nation’s lower federal courts that urgently need filling.

Currently, there are about 100 vacancies in the lower federal courts. The American Bar Association says the lack of judges is affecting the efficiency and fairness of the justice system.

ABA President Carolyn B. Lamm said, “Our courts are already terribly strained at the federal level because of the caseload and the workload, and when you’re a hundred justices down…that’s a big gap.  We have speedy trial rules that require them to put criminal cases first.  As a result, all of the civil proceedings are put off and there is a real gap in terms of a significant delay as a result of the vacancies. It is edging toward a crisis not to have a full bench.”

Even if all the vacancies were filled, said Lamm, a significant number of new judgeships would still be necessary to handle caseload growth.  In fact, the Judicial Conference of the United States is recommending 67 new permanent and temporary judgeships. 

Beyond the existing 100 vacancies, more than 20 additional judges have announced that they will retire in the next several months. Since the start of the 111th Congress, President Obama has made 78 nominations to fill the empty seats, and the Senate has confirmed 36 of the nominees.  

Lamm noted that most nominees have moved through the Senate with little dissent and little delay.

When they finally are scheduled for a vote by the Senate, Lamm commented, “None of them have in fact engendered huge debate on the floor of the Senate….  No one has seen a pattern of inappropriate people being nominated; it is simply very slow and it really needs a full bipartisan effort to move these nominations. And quite frankly, it is becoming urgent,” said Lamm.

Legal News Media

Legal News is the top headline legal news provider for lawyers and legalprofessionals. Read law articles and breaking news from law firm's across the United States to get the latest updates. We reserve the right, at our discretion, to change, modify, add, or remove portions of the site at any time. Your This site is solely for your personal use. You are, of course, welcome to print or otherwise copy material from this site for your personal use. However, you may not distribute, exchange, modify, sell or transmit anything you copy from this Site, including but not limited to any text, images, audio and video, for any business, commercial or public purpose. Any unauthorized use of the text, images, audio and video may violate copyright laws, trademark laws, the laws of privacy and publicity and civil and criminal statutes.

 

American Bar Association – Start and Run a Law Firm

NewYorkStateBar.com – Starting a Law Firm

CPA Website Designs