Issues and Legislation
Congressman Valadao Strives to Provide Relief to Central Valley Federal Court System
Citing the need for a larger and more efficient judiciary in the Central Valley of California, Congressman David G. Valadao (CA-21) along with Congressman Kevin McCarthy (CA-22) introduced the Central Valley Judicial Relief Act of 2013, on Friday in the United States House of Representatives.
The Eastern District of California, a federal court district that spans from the California-Oregon border to Edwards Air Force base in Kern County, is one of the largest geographic districts in the Ninth Circuit. However, it has the smallest bench among California’s federal district courts with only six permanent judgeships, including one seat that is remains unfilled.
Congressman Valadao stated, “Taxpayers in the Eastern District, specifically the Central Valley, deserve the same treatment as the rest of the county. By increasing the number of judgeships we can address the backlog of cases in our region and allow the justice system to work,” He continued, "As the Central Valley continues to grow this problem will only get worse, unless Congress acts."
Congressman McCarthy added, “We need to act to increase the number of local Federal judges so that our residents have access to timely judicial services. The high number of pending civil and criminal cases in the Eastern District of California, which serves Kern and Tulare counties, has even caught the attention of the Judicial Conference of the United States, which recommends this increase in judgeships. I applaud Congressman Valadao for introducing this legislation and am proud to be an original cosponsor of this bill.”
The Eastern District has three main courthouses – Sacramento, Fresno, and Bakersfield.
The bill is the first standalone effort since the Emergency Judicial Relief Act of 2011 to add permanent judgeships to the Eastern District bench.
If passed, Valadao’s legislation will add six permanent seats and one temporary seat to the Eastern District – growing the Eastern District to 12 permanent judges and one temporary judge.
Congress last added a permanent seat to the Eastern District of California bench in 1978.
Congressman David G. Valadao represents the 21st Congressional District, which includes Kings County and portions of Fresno, Tulare, and Kern counties.