Center for American Progress

How Judicial Vacancies Threaten Access to Justice for Low-Income People
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How Judicial Vacancies Threaten Access to Justice for Low-Income People

Author Anisha Singh discusses why the U.S. Senate must hold timely votes on federal judicial nominees to protect low-income communities.

In California, migrant workers have waited over three years to hear from a federal court on whether they could proceed with a class-action lawsuit against their employer. If successful, thousands of migrant workers would receive justice for alleged wage theft in the form of backpay. But with judicial vacancies on the rise, justice has been hard to come by for these workers. And due to the transient nature of migrant labor, each passing day makes it more likely that these workers will relocate, become impossible to reach, and lose their chance of receiving justice.

Stories like this one are becoming commonplace, as the increasing number of judicial vacancies (74 at present) has led to the largest backlog of federal criminal and civil cases in American history. Yet, despite the courts’ impact on consequential and timely issues, the process of appointing a new federal judge can be arduous and slow.

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Anisha Singh

Senior Organizing Director