Nine Federal Court Vacancies Impact Texas

DALLAS (December 24, 2013) Nine vacancies on federal courts that hear Texas cases are sparking concerns about growing dockets.

The Dallas Morning News reported Tuesday that the vacancies account for more than 20 percent of empty benches nationwide.

Royal Furgeson, who resigned from the bench and is now dean of the University of North Texas Law School in Dallas, called the persistent vacancies "a giant problem."

Four openings in Texas were deemed emergencies by the Judicial Conference of the United States because of heavy caseloads and long vacancies.

Nationwide, only 39 vacancies have that label, including two on the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which hears cases from Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

President Barack Obama last week named ex-prosecutor Gregg Costa, who's a federal judge in Galveston, to the 5th Circuit.

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