Break Up 9th Circuit Appeals Court

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  1. Bubba Ray Boudreaux

    Bubba Ray Boudreaux 1 ton status

    Jan 21, 2001
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    Break Up 9th Circuit Appeals Court
    By David Freddoso

    Conservatives frustrated by the notoriously liberal, San Francisco-based
    U.S. Court of Appeals
    for the 9th Circuit may finally have a chance to do something about it.

    Thanks to the new Republican majority in both houses of Congress and a
    rarely invoked
    congressional check on the power of the judicial branch, lawmakers could
    narrow the
    geographic scope of the long-infamous circuit court that recently banned
    the Pledge of
    Allegiance and nullified the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
    Congress could then
    create a new circuit court to serve many of the states in the Northwest.

    Rep. Mike Simpson (R.-Idaho) told Human Events last week that he will
    propose a bill near the
    beginning of the new Congress to break up the 9th Circuit. There are 11
    regional U.S. Circuit
    Courts, but the 9th is by far the largest, currently covering nearly 60
    million Americans in nine
    Western states—Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada,
    Oregon, Washington
    and Hawaii—and the Northern Mariana Islands. Simpson’s bill would narrow
    the 9th Circuit to
    comprise just California, Arizona and Nevada and then create a new
    circuit for the other states.

    Simpson’s bill, which received a House subcommittee hearing this summer
    (HR 1203) but never
    got a vote because of time constraints, is expected to pass the House
    Judiciary Committee in

    Simpson said that his bill enjoys broad support in the Rocky Mountain
    and Pacific Northwest
    regions. It also has bipartisan appeal. In 1995, attorneys general in
    five states from those
    regions—including Democrat Ted Kulongoski, now governor-elect of
    Oregon—wrote a letter
    to Senate Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch (R.-Utah) in support of
    breaking up the 9th Circuit.

    Although the circuit’s chief judge, Mary Schroeder, opposes the
    proposal, some of the circuit’s
    judges support it. One of them, Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain, testified
    before the House
    Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts. "There is nothing sacred about the 9th
    Circuit keeping
    essentially the same boundaries for over 100 years," he said in the July
    23 hearing. "The only
    legitimate consideration is the optimal size and structure for judges to
    perform their duties."

    Simpson claimed that his bill also has support in the Senate, boosting
    the chances that it could
    become law. The identical Senate bill (S 346) had seven Republican
    co-sponsors last year,
    including both Idaho senators, both Alaska senators and Gordon Smith of
    Oregon. Hatch, who
    was poised last week to become Judiciary Committee chairman, did not
    respond by press time
    to inquiries as to whether he would support the bill or make it a

    Simpson told Human Events that his motives in breaking up the 9th
    Circuit have little to do with
    the court’s reputation for liberal judicial activism. "I’d like to say
    that it’s all the political reasons
    and the decisions that they make," he said. "But what it is, actually,
    is that the 9th Circuit is too
    large a circuit."

    Geographically, the circuit stretches from Alaska to Arizona and from
    Montana to Hawaii. It is
    also the most populous circuit by more than 15 million people and, with
    28 judgeships, has
    nearly twice as many as the next-largest circuit.

    Simpson blamed the court’s excessive size for the fact that the circuit
    relies on ten-judge panels
    to make decisions in major cases, unlike other circuits in which the
    full complement of the
    circuit’s judges normally hear critical cases.

    "You don’t have the opportunity for all the judges to decide on some of
    these rogue three-judge
    panel decisions that are coming out," commented Eric Schippers of the
    Center for Individual

    This may partly explain the circuit’s reversal rate, which is higher
    than that of any other U.S.
    circuit. In the last term, more than three-fourths of the circuit’s
    decisions appealed to the
    Supreme Court were reversed. And this marked an improvement over
    previous years: In the
    1996-97 term, the Supreme Court reversed 27 of 28 appeals from the 9th

    The 9th Circuit’s caseload has also proven too large. In his annual
    report on the federal judiciary
    released last week, Chief Justice William Rehnquist noted that the
    number of cases in the 9th
    Circuit has increased 115% since 1984. "The caseload is so great that
    decisions coming out of
    the 9th Circuit are delayed longer than other circuits," Simpson said.

    According to U.S. judiciary statistics, in 2000 there were 116 appeals
    that the 9th Circuit took
    more than 12 months to consider after submission—nearly four times as
    many as the next
    slowest court. Judiciary statistics also show that in the year ending
    September 2001, the 9th
    Circuit took, on average, 16 months—longer than any other circuit, and
    50% longer than the
    other circuits averaged together—to hand down final decisions, starting
    from the time appeals
    are filed.

    In 1997, Congress explored the issue of breaking up the circuit by
    establishing a commission
    headed by former Supreme Court Justice Byron White. Although the
    commission’s report on
    the circuit contained several points in favor of a breakup, it argued
    instead for creating three
    "divisions" within the circuit—an arrangement unlike that in any other

    Schippers said that the circuit’s controversial decisions help to add
    popular appeal to Simpson’s
    bill. "You are starting to see a backlash not only in Congress but in
    the public as well, and that is
    certainly going to add fuel to the fire to split the circuit," he told
    Human Events, citing the recent
    decisions on the Pledge of Allegiance and the 2nd Amendment. Schippers
    added that the court’s
    rulings often seem particularly outrageous to residents of the
    conservative mountain states in the
    circuit. "There is a real disconnect between the people in Idaho or
    Montana and some of the
    decisions being made in San Francisco," he said. "This court is
    definitely not representative of the
    people there."

    A vote on breaking up the 9th Circuit, Schippers said, could force
    liberals to side either with or
    against the Pledge of Allegiance in a meaningful floor vote—not merely a
    symbolic one, such as
    the resolution adopted immediately after the Pledge of Allegiance

    In June, a three-judge panel on the 9th Circuit ruled that the Pledge of
    Allegiance represents an
    unconstitutional establishment of religion because it contains the
    phrase "under God." The
    outlandish opinion included the statement that "the mere fact that a
    pupil is required to listen
    every day to the statement ‘one nation under God’ has a coercive
    effect." Sen. Robert Byrd
    (D.-W.Va.) wryly remarked after the decision that the Declaration of
    Independence, which also
    contains references to God, could be the next document "struck down" by
    the rogue circuit.

    More recently, a three-judge panel on the 9th Circuit ruled,
    notwithstanding the 2nd
    Amendment’s plain language, that there is no constitutional "right of
    the people to keep and bear
    arms." In an extremely tortured decision, circuit judges held that the
    2nd Amendment somehow
    refers a right given to state-run militias—even though every other
    amendment in the original Bill
    of Rights refers to the rights of individual citizens of the United
    States and not state-run
    organizations. (See article by Prof. Nelson Lund, page 18.)

    Earlier this month a 9th Circuit panel effectively kept Clinton-era
    roadless rules in place for
    national forests in the Western United States. Despite the disastrous
    results this summer of the
    Clinton Administration’s fight to keep logging companies from building
    fire roads, the court
    issued a preliminary ruling reinstating the rules after a U.S. District
    court had temporarily blocked
    their enforcement. Environmental concerns drive much of the conservative
    opposition to the
    current make-up of the 9th Circuit, since the San Francisco-based court
    covers a number of
    Western states, and thus has huge sway over such hot-button issues as
    endangered species,
    wetlands rules and development.
  2. tomseviltwin

    tomseviltwin 1/2 ton status

    Dec 23, 2001
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    dismiss the lefties!!!

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