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Statement by the President Upon Signing Bill Providing for an Increase in the Federal Judiciary.

May 19, 1961

I AM DELIGHTED to sign this needed legislation. It authorizes 73 new judicial positions in the District Courts and in the Courts of Appeal.

I believe it will permit a major improvement in the effectiveness of our judicial system. The present congestion in the Federal courts has seriously delayed the prompt administration of justice. In a Nation like ours, which lives by the rule of law--not men--the effectiveness of the Judicial Branch of the Government is of critical importance-and nothing contributes more toward ineffectiveness than delay.

From the earliest days of the Nation, all administrations, of every political shade, have been mindful of the importance of nominating and confirming judges who will be a credit to our citizenry, and an assurance to our litigants of a high standard of professional performance.

I want to take this opportunity to say that for our Federal courts I shall choose men and women of unquestioned ability. I want for our courts individuals with respected professional skill, incorruptible character, firm judicial temperament, the rare inner quality to know when to temper justice with mercy, and the intellectual capacity to protect and illuminate the Constitution and our historic values in the context of a society experiencing profound and rapid change.

This is the first increase in the Federal judiciary since 1954. It resulted largely from the study and recommendations of the Judicial Conference. I am grateful to the Conference for its contribution and to the House and Senate leadership for the dispatch with which this legislation was handled.

Note: The bill (S. 912) as enacted is Public Law 87-36 (75 Stat. 80).

John F. Kennedy, Statement by the President Upon Signing Bill Providing for an Increase in the Federal Judiciary. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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