June Government Relations Update
Updated: Jul 6, 2022
The Latest on Public Policy and Advocacy Developments from FBA National
FBA advocates are continuing to press Senate leadership to pass the bipartisan Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act (S. 2340) in light of strong continuing concerns about judicial security, including the recent arrest of a would-be-attacker near Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s home and the murder of a Wisconsin judge. The companion bill (H.R. 4436) is gaining support in the House, thanks to the efforts of FBA members and members of the Federal Judges Association.
1. Article I Immigration Courts Legislation Awaits House Vote, Senate Introduction
The Real Courts, Rule of Law Act (H.R. 6577) was approved by the House Judiciary Committee on May 11 and is now awaiting a vote by the full House. According to her staff, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is preparing to introduce a Senate companion version soon.
2. Congress Begins FY 2023 Appropriations Process
Although the Senate and House leadership have not yet agreed to Fiscal Year 2023 budget top lines, the House Appropriations Subcommittees have begun marking up their FY 2023 spending bills. The Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over the Judiciary, is scheduled to mark up its bill on June 16, followed by full committee votes later this month and consideration of the 12 spending bills on the House Floor in July. At this time, the Senate is not expected to conduct formal legislative markups of any FY 2023 appropriations bills, but rather to negotiate using the House versions. For FY 2023, the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts has requested $8.6 billion in discretionary appropriations and $767.1 million in mandatory appropriations, in addition to a supplemental request for $403 million, most of which would be used to address the courts’ most pressing IT security and modernization requirements. FBA has submitted its annual letters to both House and Senate Appropriations leadership in support of the federal judiciary’s Fiscal Year 2023 funding requests, including funding for the following Article I courts separately accounted for in the budget: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, U.S. Tax Court, and U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.
3. FBA Foundation Charter Legislation Still Awaiting Senate Passage
Thanks to recent assistance from Bruce Moyer, the FBA is continuing to identify, address, and alleviate concerns impeding Senate passage of the Foundation of the House-passed Federal Bar Association Charter Amendments Act of 2021 (H.R. 2679).
4. Judgeships Legislation Stalled in Both Houses
There is no change in the status of any of the pending legislation (S. 2535, H.R. 4885, H.R. 4886) to create additional judgeships. The FBA has not endorsed a particular bill or proposed solution but continues to urge members of both the Senate and the House Judiciary Committees to work in a bipartisan way to fashion a solution to this pressing problem.
Overall, seventy of President Biden’s judicial nominees have been confirmed, while seventy-three Article III vacancies remain. Here are the current vacancies:
Current Article III Vacancies - As of June 15, 2022 According to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts
Seventy-five of 890 active federal judicial positions, including the United States Court of Federal Claims and the United States territorial courts, are vacant. Forty-one more judicial vacancies are expected through October of 2023, with eleven nominees named in advance.
Twenty-six judicial emergencies in vacancies remain, based on caseload and/or the length of the vacancy, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. One emergency is in the 11th Circuit, three are in the New York district courts, and twelve are in the California district courts.
Since May 15th the Senate has confirmed eight judicial nominees:
Since May 15th the President has made the following judicial nomination announcements:
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