Judicial Conference recommends new judgeship for Indiana’s Southern District

A new permanent judgeship for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana is among the Judicial Conference of the United States’ recommendations to Congress for the creation of nearly five dozen new judgeships across the country.

The Judicial Conference announced Tuesday that it had agreed to recommend that Congress create 57 new Article III judgeships in the nation’s appellate and district courts. The recommendations include temporary judgeships to later be made permanent in states, such as in Arizona, and permanent recommendations in several other courts.

The Judicial Conference is recommending one permanent judgeship for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, which has had a vacancy since Judge Sarah Evans Barker assumed senior status in 2014. The southern district’s weighted caseload filing has continued to rise to an excess of 700 per judgeship, prompting the Conference to create a first-of-its-kind “borrowing and lending” program with the Eastern District of Wisconsin to help ease the Southern District’s caseload burden.

The Southern District of Indiana has been identified for years by the Judicial Conference as one in need of an additional permanent judgeship.

The Judicial Conference’s largest recommendation to Congress was for the creation of seven permanent and temporary made permanent Article III judgeships in the Central District of California, which already has 28 judges. The Judicial Conference also recommended the creation of 5 permanent judgeships in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which takes cases from Arizona, California, and Hawaii. However, based on consistently low filings in the District of Wyoming and the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes cases from Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming, the Judicial Conference is recommending that Congress and the president not fill the next judgeship vacancies in those courts.

Since the last comprehensive judgeship bill was enacted in 1990, appeals filings have increased by 40 percent, while district court filings have similarly increased by 38 percent, with civil filings up 38 percent and criminal filings up 39 percent. The full list of Judicial Conference recommendations can be found here.

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