Eastern District Court Asks Congress for Help

By George Khoury, Esq. on July 25, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The federal Eastern District court in California recently sent a letter to Congress, as well as the members of its bar, explaining that the court will soon be in crisis as the judges in the district are already overworked compared to their peers in other district courts, and there are a couple judges with retirements planned.

Notably, when the retirements happen next year, each judge in the district is expected to take on an additional 500 cases. And that's on top of the 900 or so cases they already have, which is roughly double the national average.

Court in Crisis

Although the Eastern District court's crisis may seem like one of its own making due to justices retiring, it really isn't at all. The fact is that the population in that judicial district has boomed over the last forty years, and there hasn't been a single new judgeship created there since 1978. With retirements pending, and the federal court's duty to prioritize criminal matters, civil cases could see major impacts if no action is taken.

In the letter to Congress, the justices ask lawmakers to both act swiftly in appointing replacements for the outgoing justices, and also to create five new judgeships on Eastern District bench as soon as possible. The district is massive, reaching all the way from Bakersfield to the Oregon border. The justices warn of an impending judicial crisis in the district if no action is taken by Congress.

For federal practitioners in the state that handle matters in the Eastern District, you've probably noticed that resources there are scarce (which might explain why getting a date pushed out, or a trial date as late as you want it, has been such an easy sell).

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