Today, Sens. Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) introduced legislation that would help alleviate the current capacity crisis plaguing many of our nation’s federal district courts.

The Judicial Understaffing Delays Getting Emergencies Solved (JUDGES) Act would follow the independent recommendation of the Judicial Conference of the United States to add 77 new district judgeships in the most overburdened district courts across the country. These judgeships would be created after the next two presidential elections—the first half in January 2025 and the second half in January 2029.

“For years, there has been bipartisan recognition that our federal district courts are overwhelmed and desperately need additional judgeships. Yet, for over 30 years, judgeship legislation has stalled, often over fears of which president would fill these seats. This bipartisan legislation—staggering new district judgeships over the next two presidential elections—proves that this effort is about access to justice, not politics,” said Anthony Marcum, resident governance fellow at the R Street Institute.

It has been 31 years since Congress last passed a comprehensive judgeship bill. Since then, the U.S. population and federal court filings have soared, and case delays have worsened. Yet, for three decades, the number of federal judgeships has stayed nearly the same, leading to an environment where there are too few judges, with not enough resources, to consider cases carefully in a timely fashion.

We are grateful to Sens. Young and Coons for their leadership on this issue.