Sens. Todd Young (R-IN) and Chris Coons (D-DE) introduced a bill last month that would expand the federal judiciary by 77 judges, starting in 2025, after the current presidential term.
Democrats have been expressing a wish to expand the number of Supreme Court justices, so that President Joe Biden can appoint four new justices to override the current 6-3 majority of Republican appointees. Some have advocated a milder approach, expanding the lower courts first.
The new bill, called the Judicial Understaffing Delays Getting Emergencies Solved (JUDGES) Act, says that “The Judicial Conference of the United States requested the creation of 77 new district judges in its 2021 report,” and that “As of March 31, 2021, there were 696,789 pending cases, averaging 803 filings per judgeship.” The Coons-Young legislation provides for 39 new judgeships to be created after Jan. 21, 2025, and 38 new judgeships after Jan. 21, 2029.
Last year, during the presidential campaign, Biden dodged the question of whether he would endorse Democrats’ calls to pack the Supreme Court, finally announcing that he would appoint a commission of “scholars” to consider the issue. But Democrats jumped the gun, unveiling legislation in both the House and the Senate in April to expand the number of Supreme Court justices from nine to thirteen.
The federal judiciary expanded by 30 percent under President Jimmy Carter, who filled the resultant vacancies with liberal-minded justices. A smaller expansion took place in 1990, under President George H.W. Bush.
Left-wing judicial activists are describing judicial expansion as an urgent priority.