Wall Street Journal Letter to the Editor by Fern Bomchill

On November 16, 2011 FBA president Fern Bomchill wrote this letter to the editor in the Wall Street Journal in regards to judicial vacancies.

November 16, 2011

The Editor
The Wall Street Journal
1211 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY, 10036

Dear Editor:

In "Criminal Case Glut Impedes Civil Suits" (Page one, Nov. 10), Gary Fields and John R. Emshwiller perform an excellent job in identifying the multiple causes that are pushing civil lawsuits off the federal courthouse docket and creating endless delay for business and individual litigants. As they point out, constitutional and statutory speedy criminal trial requirements, skyrocketing drug and immigration enforcement actions and the expansion of federal jurisdiction over crimes once reserved for the states all reduce the availability of prompt justice. The foremost cause, however, and the one most within our reach to cure, involves the epidemic of judicial vacancies on the federal bench. One-tenth of our nation's federal judgeships today stand vacant. The glacial pace of the White House and the Senate in nominating and confirming qualified candidates has brought judicial vacancies to near all-time record highs. Our leaders have a moral and constitutional responsibility to do better. Civil litigants seeking justice in our federal courts should not be forced to pay the price.

Fern C. Bomchill
President, Federal Bar Association
Chicago, IL

Thank you for the letter to the editor. They notify reporters when editorials come in about their stories.

John and I did try to cover the point you’re making about the impact of judicial vacancies. I include that section below.

Exacerbating the problem are vacancies on the federal bench. Despite the surge in case loads, the number of authorized federal judgeships has risen just 4% since 1990. Of the 677 district court judgeships currently authorized, about 9.5% are vacant.

Gary Fields
Wall Street Journal


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