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Todd Young's bill to add more federal judges advances through U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee

Todd Young holds up his hand while seated behind a microphone. Young is a White man with dark hair, wearing a dark suit and tie.
Brandon Smith
IPB News
U.S. Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) has worked for years to add more federal judgeships around the country, to help reduce case backlogs.

U.S. Sen. Todd Young’s (R-Ind.) years-long effort to add more federal judges across the country is advancing in the U.S. Senate.

The latest version of the bill — co-authored with U.S. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) — cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously.

Congress hasn’t added more federal judges in more than 20 years. That’s the longest gap since the federal judiciary was created in 1789. And Young said there’s a critical need.

“If you don’t have access to a speedy trial, you really don’t have access to justice,” Young said.

As of March 2023, there were nearly 700,000 pending cases in federal district courts.

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Young’s bill, the JUDGES Act, would add 66 judges, split between 2025 and 2029, after presidential elections.

“We relied on what are independent recommendations of, I think, an entity — the Judicial Conference — that is widely respected and has not become politicized,” Young said.

Young said spreading out the judgeships would also help the fiscal impact.

Indiana’s southern district would receive a new judge in the first wave.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.