Posted: May 16, 2003


WASHINGTON, DC – In an effort to deal with the severe shortage of bankruptcy court judges across the country, and particularly in Delaware, U.S. Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. announced that the Senate Judiciary Committee has approved his legislation to add 29 new, permanent judges to the federal bankruptcy bench, four of which will be in Delaware. In addition, the bill converts one of Delaware’s temporary judgeships to permanent status.  

“The dramatic increase in bankruptcy filings in the past few years has created a serious need for additional judgeships, particularly in Delaware – far and away the nation’s most overworked bankruptcy court,” said Senator Biden. “In these cases, timing is often critical, and without these additional judgeships, people could face significant and unnecessary delays.”  

Senator Biden cited the most recent data from the Administrative Office for the United States Courts that shows weighted filings for the district of Delaware exceeding 13,500 cases per judge during a one-year period.  The next busiest district, the Southern District of New York, maintains a substantially smaller ratio of more than 3,000 weighted filings per judge.  Weighted filings take into consideration not only the volume of cases, but the complexity of the case as well.   

In addition to the 29 new permanent bankruptcy court judges, the bill also authorizes an additional seven temporary judgeships, converts two judgeships to permanent status, and extends the terms of two other temporary judgeships.    

“The bankruptcy bar in Delaware is among the most respected and accomplished in the country, as are our bankruptcy judges.  But our judges are not superhuman.  They need relief from their staggering caseload, and they need it yesterday. These five additional judgeships will go a long way towards providing that relief,” said Biden. 

Senator Biden’s bill was accepted as part of a larger package that passed the Judiciary Committee this morning. Next, the bill heads to the Senate for further consideration.