Lubbock has one of seventeen federal vacancies in the state

Lubbock has one of seventeen federal vacancies in the state

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The scales of justice on the federal level are barely tipping as the Trump administration struggles to fill many vacant department of justice positions in Texas

There are 17 total vacancies.   

Texas needs four U.S attorneys, 11 district judges and two justices in the U.S. Fifth Circuits Court of Appeals.

"We know this administration has expressed disdain for the Federal Judiciary," said Rod Hobson, a Lubbock defense attorney. " I don't know if it has anything to do with it or not. I do know they made a deal with the private prison people fairly quickly and the Attorney General is talking about reinstating mandatory minimums."

There have been several vacant seats for years. 

"It should not take months and months and years, it just shouldn't.," Hobson said. "They got something else that they think is more important obviously, government is supposed to work for the people and if you got these positions, government positions, then assuming somebody thought they were important to have the position to have them and they should fill that position."

In the Lubbock federal court, Judge Sam Cummings is working into overtime and has for a long time. He has reached senior status and announced his intent to retire a couple of years ago.

Abilene Federal Magistrate Scott Frost was selected by the Obama administration to replace Cummings, but it didn't happen.   

"We already had one judge who had been gone through the process and had been approved," said Texas Tech law professor Patrick Metze. "Then we had a change in administration and I guess they started all over again so it's just the uncertainty of not knowing here locally."

The northern judicial district may not be as busy as other districts, but it is a large one and there are important cases.  Hobson said these vacancies seriously need to be addressed.

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