Cornyn, Cruz Introduce Bill to Extend Federal Court Proceedings in West Texas
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced the Improving Access to Our Courts Act to allow federal court proceedings to be conducted at the U.S. District Court in Alpine, Texas, which is one of the seven U.S. District Courts for the Western District of Texas and serves nine Texas counties:
“The American system of checks and balances relies on the strength of our three branches of government,” said Sen. Cornyn. “This legislation will support the important work happening in West Texas federal courtrooms and the mission of our judicial branch by increasing the number of local cases that can be processed.”
“I am proud to work with my colleagues in Texas to increase accessibility to our federal courts for victims, parties, counsel, and the general public” said Sen. Cruz. “Through this needed addition, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas will be able to provide more efficient service to the people of West Texas, allowing them to seek redress without needing to drive for several hours to the nearest federal courthouse. Justice has come home.”
Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) are cosponsors of the bill. U.S. House of Representatives Tony Gonzales (TX-23), Rick Larsen (WA-2), and Suzan DelBene (D-WA-1) are filing a House companion bill.
This legislation will clarify in law that federal court proceedings may be held in Alpine, Texas, for the Western District of Texas, and in Mt. Vernon, Washington, for the Western District of Washington. Currently, litigants typically sign waivers to allow for court proceedings in Alpine, Texas. Updating the law to remove this bureaucratic hurdle, will streamline court proceedings and encourage more local court proceedings in the Alpine courthouse. There is no new cost associated with this bill as both courthouses are currently operational.