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Statement on Signing Bills Relating to District Judges and Customs Courts.

June 03, 1970

I HAVE SIGNED into law two important bills which will greatly improve the administration of justice in this country: S. 952, which provides for the appointment of additional district judges, and S. 2624, the Customs Courts Act of 1970 and the Customs Administrative Act of 1970•

These two measures will help to reduce the tremendous backlogs of cases which currently clog the calendars of these courts. In the Customs Court, filings have risen from 35,000 in fiscal 1963 to more than 75,000 in fiscal 1969 with an ending caseload of over 431,000 cases as of July 1, 1969. In the United States district courts, civil and criminal filings increased by 14 percent for a total of 61,000 in the first half of fiscal 1970--up 24 percent in

4 years--leaving more than 110,000 cases pending on December 31, 1969, the largest number in history.

"Justice delayed is justice denied." That is a maxim I learned even before I attended law school. But its universal familiarity makes it no less valid. When parties to civil cases are denied prompt judicial determination of their rights and liabilities, interruption of commerce and personal frustration are the result. When delays occur between indictment and trial in criminal cases, innocent persons are required to wait many painful months before their good names may be cleared, and the community as a whole is subjected to the risk of repeated criminal acts committed by some persons free awaiting trial.

It is toward the solving of these problems that these two bills are directed. This is a most important step in our common goal of insuring that the courts of this Nation are able to give to the cases which are brought before them the most thoughtful and prompt scrutiny possible.

Note: As enacted, S. 952 is Public Law 91-272 (84 Stat. 294), and S. 2624 is Public Law 91-271 (84 Stat. 974), both approved on June 2, 1970.

Richard Nixon, Statement on Signing Bills Relating to District Judges and Customs Courts. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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