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WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Jim Risch and Mike Crapo (both R-Idaho) have introduced legislation, S. 7, that would create an additional federal district judgeship in Idaho. Idaho is one of only three states (North Dakota and Vermont are the others) with only two authorized judgeships. In contrast, the Central District of California and the Southern District of New York each have 28 authorized judgeships. If passed, the legislation would add a third judge to the District of Idaho. 

“Idaho’s population and judicial emergency has grown substantially since the last district judge was added nearly seventy years ago,” said Risch. “This has put Idaho and its legal system at a great disadvantage. The addition of a third district judge in Idaho is common sense and would help administer efficient and effective justice in our state.”

“Idaho’s growing population requires an additional judgeship to ensure effective access to the resources that provide justice in our state,” said Crapo. “This need has been widely recognized for years, and it is past time we provide the District of Idaho with a third district judge and personnel to keep up with an ever-growing caseload.”

Since the second district judge was authorized in 1954, Idaho’s population has grown substantially, and the court indicates that its caseload has increased exponentially. This leaves Idaho at a disadvantage compared to other similarly sized states. Since 2003, the Judicial Conference of the U.S. has consistently found Idaho to be facing a judicial emergency based on weighted caseload numbers per active judge and the lack of a third federal judgeship to balance caseloads. Idaho is in a precarious position with only two authorized federal judges, and faces further difficulties and shortages with current judges reaching retirement eligibility.  

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