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Legislation to increase the number of D.C. Superior Court judges by three to 61 has cleared the Senate but hasn’t moved in the House, with the clock ticking toward the end of the session in December. The bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent in August, but a companion bill by D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) in the House has no co-sponsors and hasn’t budged from its initial committee assignment in April. “We are always hopeful,” says Norton’s press secretary, Doxie McCoy. “I know it is something the judges want, so we are pushing for it before the end of the session.” The legislation is meant to correct an anomaly created two years ago, when Congress increased the Family Court Division from 12 to 15 judges but did not increase the overall number of judges from 58 to 61. That anomaly has created a backlog in judicial confirmations, with newly appointed judges waiting up to 22 months to be confirmed because of the 58-judge limit. “We’re going to find it very difficult to recruit people from private practice [because of the delay], and they should be an important source for people coming on the court,” says Superior Court Chief Judge Rufus King III. “I have heard nothing that [the bill] is dead in the water. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, and I’m hoping.”
Brendan Smith can be contacted at [email protected].

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