Judicial Branch

Building fewer new courthouses

There should be an easier process for the Courts and Congress to realign judicial districts so that court cases could be heard in the nearest courthouse, even if the closest courthouse is in a different judicial district. This would eliminate the need to build expensive small courthouses in areas that are too far from existing courthouses within their own judicial district. Case in point, it has been determined that a new courthouse is desirable in Lancaster, PA, because it is too far to travel to Philadelphia, PA for cases to be heard. In the meantime, a new courthouse is planned for Harrisburg, PA, which is only 30 minutes away from Lancaster. Unfortunately, Lancaster is in the Eastern District, while Harrisburg is in the Middle District. It would save the taxpayers millions of dollars if the Lancaster cases could be heard in Harrisburg, even if they had to add another courtroom to the already planned courthouse. It is my understanding that this similar scenario of crossing judicial districts happens in my cities across the United States. The cost of a new courthouse in Lancaster was estimated to cost $27M. The reasons for requesting the new new courthouse in Lancaster could easily be satisfied in Harrisburg for a fraction of the cost. Therefore, developing an easier process for Congress to modify judicial districts to follow population growth, could save the taxpayers millions throughout the country, not just right now, but as the population continues to shift.

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Idea No. 3304