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Fifty Years of JusticeA History of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida$
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James M. Denham

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780813060491

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813060491.001.0001

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New Judges, New Challenges, 1988–1992

New Judges, New Challenges, 1988–1992

(p.223) 11 New Judges, New Challenges, 1988–1992
Fifty Years of Justice

James M. Denham

University Press of Florida

This chapter discusses the Middle District during the years of the George H. W. Bush Presidency, 1988–1992. The Middle District experienced intense overcrowding due to expanding case load, and the primary cause was the dramatic increase in criminal cases. As Congress had expanded federal criminal jurisdiction, and as the federal law enforcement establishment expanded, so too did the number of prosecutors. Even though U.S. magistrates took on more duties and trial work, the number of judges remained constant. As had been the case in the early 1980s, civil cases were postponed because “speedy trials” for criminal defendants took precedence. And the number of criminal cases grew and grew. These recurring themes continue in subsequent chapters. Population growth allowed the president to appoint more judges but partisan politics with a Republican White House and a democratically controlled Senate made the confirmation of judges difficult to achieve. The cooperation of Senators Connie Mack (Rep.) and Bob Graham (Dem.) was instrumental in having several new judges for the Middle District confirmed. Even with the addition of several new district judges and U.S. magistrates, the chapter ends with a 1993 report show that with caseloads rising beyond any reasonable measure federal court system in Florida was nearing a “meltdown.”

Keywords:   George H. W. Bush judicial appointments, Sen. Bob Graham, Sen. Connie Mack, Rehnquist Court, Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (1994 Child Support Recovery Act (1992), Violence Against Women’s Act (1994)

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