Rep. Simpson revives effort to get third federal judge for Idaho

November 20, 2013 

After hearing from Idaho's federal judges about booming caseloads, Republican Rep. Mike Simpson is making another attempt to add a third U.S. district judge.

Simpson's H.R. 3457, introduced last week, revives a bill he co-sponsored in 2010 with then-Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick. Like other attempts in years past, the measure did not advance.

It's been 59 years since Idaho got a second district judge. With caseloads up 30 percent in the last six years, visiting judges from other states help bridge the gap.

Simpson says a recent meeting with Idaho's federal judges spurred him to try again to expand their number.

In August, Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill and Chief Bankruptcy Judge Terry Myers wrote Simpson and the other three members of the Idaho congressional delegation saying the federal courts in Idaho are "facing a financial crisis which is unparalleled in our 150-year history."

The judges cited slowed spending and across-the-board sequestration cuts that began March 1.

“It is far past time for Idaho to get a third district judge and the bill I have introduced will provide the additional judge that our state needs,” Simpson said in a news release. “I recently met with Idaho’s federal judges and heard directly from them about the serious impact budget cuts, sequester, and the lack of an additional judge are having on the federal courts in Idaho. While I am fully cognizant of the budget crisis facing our country, I share the judges’ concerns about delays in the administration of justice and the impact that has on the Constitutional role of the courts.”

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