Arizona in great need of judges

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Arizona's judicial system is suffering, under incredible strain due to a lack of judges.

Politicians are busy wrangling over approving President Obama's nominees.  And Thursday night Washington's mess spilled over into Tucson.

The traffic outside Tucson's federal courthouse is always moving inside the "traffic's" a lot worse.

"The caseloads are incredible," said attorney Brick Storts.

Southern Arizona has two vacant federal judgeships.  One of those left open after January 8.

Criminal Defense Attorney Brick Storts says the loss of Judge Roll made an already bad situation that much worse.

On that day, Judge Roll was trying to call attention to a judicial emergency in Southern Arizona.

"With the loss of Judge Roll its just further compounded the problem and visiting judges can help out but it isn't the same as having our judges," said Storts.

President Obama did his part by nominating two women to fill those vacancies.  One of those, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jennifer Guerin Zipps already has the green light.

But Rosemary Marquez, a defense lawyer working out of a downtown Tucson office, is being held up by Arizona's two Senators.

"It doesn't make any real sense.  There's no good reason for it," said Storts.

Storts says he sees the strain it puts on fellow attorneys, defendants and most importantly judges working inside the federal courthouse.

The average judge nationwide handles 566 actions.  An Arizona judge handles 854.  And those numbers are constantly climbing.

"Clearly these are two qualified candidates and they need to be moved through the system and up on the bench," said Storts.

What's worse, the Obama administration says its not pulling Marquez's name back.

So, unless Arizona's two Senators work together. The courts and the work they do hang in the balance.

"I don't think they're in a position to really evaluate her performance," said Storts.

Senator's Kyl and McCain's offices did not respond to questions

Representatives from Congresswoman Giffords and Congressman Grijalva's offices say there's absolutely no reason these nominees should not be confirmed by the Senate.