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July 2008

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This article is in the news archives --- for current news go to the Third Branch News.


Judicial Confirmations at Center of Cancelled Hearing

Judge George Z. Singal, chair of the Conference Committee on Judicial Resources, (photo left) confers with AO staff while waiting for word on whether the Senate hearing would occur.

A scheduled Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on S. 2774, the Federal Judgeship Act of 2008, was suspended in mid-June as Republicans invoked a rule that no committee of the Senate may meet more than two hours after the start of a Senate floor session without the consent of the majority and minority leaders. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) objected to the pace of confirmations for court of appeals judges. The rule has been invoked with regard to other Senate Judiciary Committee business in recent weeks.

Judge George Z. Singal, chair of the Judicial Conference Committee on Judicial Resources who had been prepared to testify at the June 17th hearing, instead submitted his written testimony and responded to written questions from the Judiciary Committee.

The Judiciary Committee recently voted 15-4 in favor of S. 2774, which would create 66 judgeships in the courts of appeals and district courts, and also reflects all outstanding Article III judgeship recommendations of the Judicial Conference. Although Congress created a small number of judgeships in the district courts in recent years, no additional appellate judgeships have been created in nearly 18 years. In that time, federal court case filings have grown by double digits, making passage of new comprehensive judgeships legislation essential.