Conservatives should oppose expanding the federal courts

Although caseloads are larger than they were decades ago, courts have streamlined practices to resolve more cases quickly and at lower costs. Information technology allows judges to research and write opinions faster and to post them on the internet. Judges now have professional staffs of lawyers instead of having to rely on clerical support. Fewer oral arguments mean lower attorneys’ fees for litigants.

The judicial conference regularly monitors caseloads and surveys courts about needs for new judgeships. If judges were overworked and cutting corners, they would undoubtedly ask Congress for more help beyond filling vacancies and the addition of a modest number of judgeships requested annually. If federal courts were suffering a caseload crisis, there would be nothing attractive about being a federal judge, and judges would be departing in droves. And they’re not.

It also makes no sense to expand lower federal courts to serve a political agenda.