Bill that would fill court vacancies faster to begin mark up Thursday


WASHINGTON (WDVM) — A bill introduced by District of Columbia Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton that will speed up the process of filling D.C. Court vacancies is heading to mark up on Thursday, Dec. 2.

The District of Columbia Courts Vacancy Reduction Act will change the current process of reviewing and approving a judicial appointment, that requires a Senate confirmation. If the bill is approved by Congress, judicial appointments to local D.C. courts will take effect after a 30-day congressional review period.

There are currently 17 judge vacancies across the two local courts in D.C. The Superior Court, which has 62 authorized judges, has 14 vacancies, while the Court of Appeals, which has nine authorized judges, has three vacancies.

“I appreciate that COR will mark up my bill to allow appointments to the local D.C. courts to take effect at the end of a 30-day congressional review period,” Norton said. “This is the same process currently used for D.C. legislation. It is therefore a reliable process, long recognized by Congress. My bill is prompted by the unique requirement that nominees to the local D.C. courts be confirmed by the Senate, where nominees for the federal courts and the executive branch, understandably, get the primary focus and priority. This has led to a longstanding vacancy crisis on the District’s criminal and civil courts, regardless of which party controls the Senate, and the D.C. courts have raised serious concerns about the vacancies, including their effect on public safety.”

To view the bill, click here.

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