By: Earnest Jones | 03-17-2017 | News
Photo credit: Alexstar | Dreamstime

Will The 9th Circuit Court Be Split?

There’s a possibility of breaking up the most liberal court in America. This comes after a House panel held a hearing on the prospect of chopping up the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

It is obvious that the 9th Circuit has been against President Donald Trump.

Three judges from the 9th Circuit judges gave a testimony before the House Committee.

The testimony was on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet. The three judges included Chief Judge Sidney Thomas, Judge Alex Kozinski, and Judge Carlos Bea.

Like most of the 9th Circuit Judges, the three also support the current configuration, it’s also obvious that they oppose the idea of splitting the court.

Republican Rep. Darrell Issa is the subcommittee’s chairman. She said the court has become too bulky to operate professionally.

The court hears twice as many appeals as the next largest circuit court per year.

The 9th Circuit has the largest jurisdiction in the country. One-fifth of the country’s population sits in the 9th Circuit. As a result, the court has a giant docket. This makes for a long turnaround time before the court makes a decision. It’s also challenging for average citizens to access the courts.

This takes us back to 1981 when the extensive 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was split into two appeals courts over the same problem. Florida, Alabama, and Georgia were eliminated from the 5th Circuit and reestablished as the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Issa also pointed out that the legislation was adopted quickly in both houses of Congress with undisputed agreement.

There are Democrats on the subcommittee who argue that the administrative and logistical concerns Republican lawmakers raised were expressions of hate towards the court. Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler said that the proposals to split the 9th Circuit are a result of decisions with which conservatives disagree He also said that the 9th Circuit has long been in the sights of Republican politicians.

Democratic Rep. John Conyers of Michigan said that he will not speculate why there has been such an interest among my conservative colleagues about splitting the 9th Circuit.

On the other hand, Judge Thomas told the committee that a second appeals court could not service the western states. His argument was that the court has effectively built an administrative economy of scale, where non-judge mediators help judge cases outside of court. He also said that the court-designated officers handle basic motions, and clerks manage the paperwork. Splitting the circuit will have a devastating effect on the administration of justice in the western United States. A New courthouse in Phoenix would cost $128 million. Another facility in Seattle would cost $54 million, wasting taxpayer’s money.

Judge Thomas said that the court has a large, centralized staff and the resources to solicit expert input, adding that Americans have more access to the 9th Circuit that any other federal court.

Judge Bea, said that a lot of economic benefits come with having a uniform copyright and intellectual property law across the nation’s most innovative economic zone.

Vanderbilt University Professor Brian Fitzpatrick said that one problem the court faces is the number of Judges. He argued that as the number of Judges grows, the odds of appointing liberal extremists increases. Fitzpatrick quoted Judge Richard Posner of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals when he said that the quality of judicial output decreases as the number of judges on an appellate court expands. Issa denied that his interest in splitting the court was ideological. He also said that one of the challenges that he’s facing is how to configure the 9th Circuit.


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