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A Tricky Bid For More Federal Judges

Publication Date: 
July 02, 2008
The National Law Journal
Pamela A. MacLean

Professor Mariano Florentino Cuellar comments in a National Law Journal story on a bill that aims to increase the number of the federal judiciary by 50 new members:

"It's definitely true there are partisan politics to this," said Mariano Florentino Cuellar, Stanford Law School professor of political science. "No party wants to give up expansion of the judiciary when they control the White House."

But two other political dynamics are at play. There is the interbranch politics of having a healthy judiciary to balance the legislative and executive, he said. Another factor is the internal dynamic of a Supreme Court that has more difficulty controlling lower courts the larger they get.

Efforts to pass judgeship expansions rarely succeed. Cuellar gives this bill a 10 percent shot at success in the two business months left for Congress before the election.