Washington, D.C. – Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch have introduced legislation that would create an additional federal district judgeship in Idaho for the first time in sixty years. Idaho is one of only three states (North Dakota and Vermont are the others) with only two authorized judgeships for the entire state. In contrast, the Central District of California and the Southern District of New York each have 28 authorized judgeships. If passed, the Crapo-Risch legislation would add a third judge to the District of Idaho.
“The need for an additional judge in Idaho has been widely recognized for years,” said Crapo. “The District of Idaho has been working to meet the needs of the district while facing growing personnel and financial challenges. Advancing this productivity by adding an additional judgeship to the court would help ensure effective access to justice for Idaho’s increasing population.”
“It is past time for the District of Idaho to have a third judgeship,” said Risch. “It is unfair that Idaho is at such a great disadvantage compared to other states of our size. A third judgeship would help in the administration of efficient and effective justice in our state.”
Since the second district judge was authorized 60 years ago, Idaho’s population has grown substantially, and the court indicates that its caseload has doubled. This leaves Idaho at a disadvantage compared to other similarly sized states. According to data from the court, in the twelve month period that ended in June of 2013, 1,074 cases were filed in the court. This results in 537 filings per judgeship, which far exceeds the average filings of 303 cases per judgeships in comparable courts, with more judges, across the nation. Additionally, the pending cases per judge in the District of Idaho increased 30 percent from 2007-2013, and total case filings have jumped 26 percent during this time period.
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson has introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.