March 07, 2005

Senate Passes Craig/Crapo Bill To Create Third District Judgeship For Idaho

WASHINGTON, DC â?? A bill authored by Idaho Senator Larry Craig and cosponsored by Idaho Senator Mike Crapo to create a third additional permanent federal district court judgeship for the state of Idaho, passed the full Senate late yesterday evening unanimously. â??I am very pleased that Senator Crapo and I were able to take this major step in creating a third permanent federal district judgeship for our state necessary to address Idahoâ??s exploding federal caseload,â?? Senator Craig said. â??The importance of this bill was made clear on Monday when our two current federal judges explained how this growth, combined with the geographic challenges Idaho presents, has severely hampered our citizensâ?? timely access to the courts. This is a significant step forward for the justice system in our state and I look forward to this bill being moved through the House and signed by the President.â??â??Courts throughout the country are overburdened, and Idahoâ??s are no exception,â?? Senator Mike Crapo said. â??The approval of this legislation moves us a step closer to making certain that justice can occur in a timely manner. I was pleased to work with Senator Craig's efforts in achieving the bill's passage on the Senate floor, and I am hopeful that the House will pass the measure quickly so that the President can sign it.â??Since Idaho's last judgeship was created in 1954, the population has increased from approximately a half a million to over a million, and in the last decade, Idaho was the third fastest-growing state in the nation. According to the Judicial Conference, the weighted caseload is 554. Criminal filings, in particular, have increased 200 percent over last year and are growing in complexity. Complicating the workload question is the geography of the state. With 450 miles between divisions, Idahoâ??s current federal district judges are forced to spend some 20 percent of their time on the road. Craig argued that this particular circumstance justified making the additional judgeship a permanent one, rather than temporary as the Judicial Conference had originally recommended. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives.[30]