Shortage of NJ Federal Judges Could Lead to Judicial Crisis

Steve Adubato and Jose Linares, Chief Judge of the New Jersey Federal District Court, discuss the shortage of federal judges in New Jersey, which could lead the state into a judicial crisis.

5/5/18 #211






"We are honored to welcome Jose Linares, Chief Judge of the New Jersey Federal District Court. Good you see Judge. Good to see you Steve. Describe what the New Jersey Federal District Court is. Well the Federal District Court is the federal branch of the judiciary in New Jersey. Of course, most people are familiar with the state court system. Right. From the municipal court level, to the tenancy courts, to the family court, to the state courts, the federal, or judiciary, it's different. It's... New Jersey is the oldest United District Court in the country, meaning that it's only one district, and we service cases that deal with federal litigation, patent litigation, immigration cases, Social Security appeals, so it's a court of special jurisdiction in that... in order to get into our court, you have to have a special type of jurisdiction, whether it's federal... a federal question that's at issue, a constit... you know, a constitutional issue, or something like that. And the judges in the federal system are nominated... appointed by the President and with the advice and consent of the Senate. So in that sense it's also a different... Judge, you told me recently, off camera, that we have a crisis. What's the crisis? We do. We have a judicial crisis in New Jersey. I say that because our court is an extremely busy court. We are a seventeen judge court, active judge court, the federal judiciary who tracks numbers and filings and so forth, has determined we really should be at a twenty judge court, and we're trying to get Congress to increase the number of judges in New Jersey to twenty. But as of right now, we have, in essence, five vacancies out of seventeen, and we're gonna be up to six come next year, or at least potentially six if one of the judges that becomes Senior eligible next year, chooses to go Senior status. So... How does that impact our lives in New Jersey? It impacts... it impacts your lives a lot. When you think about it, New Jersey... and just to put it in perspective, from 2016 to 2017, we had a 47% increase in case filers. We're the first... we're top among the Third Circuit, second... we're top in the Third Circuit, fourth in the nation, in the number of filings. Seventh in weighted cases, which means complex, complicated cases. And we handle a ton of pharmaceutical patent work and criminal cases. We have... so how does it affect the citizens of New Jersey? Yeah. Okay. We have, A, an opioid crisis in New Jersey right now. Tons of problems arising out of that with criminal cases, reentry programs, and these are cases that come to the..."