WASHINGTON -- Sen. Howell Heflin, D-Ala., said Wednesday he will introduce legislation calling for creation of a national court of appeals.
The bill also would initiate a long-range study of the federal court system and call for major reforms in the U.S. judiciary.
Heflin, former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, said: 'The future of the effective administration of justice is threatened. If the court system falters and the American people are denied quality justice, the Congress will be responsible.'
He said in a statement that a national appeals court would relieve the Supreme Court of some of its present burdens and increase the national appellate capacity.
Of the 4,242 petitions for hearings submitted to the Supreme Court last year, Heflin said, only 289 -- fewer than 7 percent -- were granted.
'Clearly, more than six or seven percent of all the petitions to the Supreme Court deserve to be heard,' Heflin said.
A national appeals court would resolve conflicts in the federal circuit courts, thus relieving the Supreme Court of that responsibility, he said