Nicknamed the “nutty ninth,” the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is known as easily the most liberal court in the federal system. Now, one day after it ruled against Donald Trump’s temporary immigration freeze, it looks like it may be about to get a lot smaller.
According to Fox News, a bill to break up the 9th Circuit’s geographical purview was gaining some traction in Congress, with Arizona’s two Republican senators pushing legislation that would carve six states out of the San-Francisco-based court’s jurisdiction to create a new 12th Circuit.
The bill, which was introduced last month by Sens. Jeff Flake and John McCain, would put the states of Nevada, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Arizona and Alaska in the new court. In an interview with Fox on Wednesday, Flake said the legislation’s aim isn’t political, but instead aimed at addressing long backlogs in the court.
“It represents 20 percent of the population — and 40 percent of the land mass is in that jurisdiction. It’s just too big,” Flake said. “We have a bedrock principle of swift justice and if you live in Arizona or anywhere in the 9th Circuit, you just don’t have it.”
He said the average case in the 9th Circuit takes 15 months to be handed down. “It’s far too long,” he said.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the 9th Circuit stands so far outside of the judicial mainstream. In 2012, Fox News reported, the Supreme Court overturned 86 percent of the Ninth Circuit decisions that it reviewed.
Infamous decisions handed down by the “nutty ninth” include stating that the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance was an unconstitutional breach of the Establishment Clause (Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow) and that the Second Amendment was not intended to allow private ownership of firearms (Silveira v. Lockyer). Both cases, as you may have surmised, were later overturned.
In its entirely predictable ruling against Trump’s executive order on Thursday, the court displayed the same kind of brilliant logic it has in the past. According to The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro, it ruled that states suffer “concrete and particularized injury” if illegal aliens aren’t able to attend college classes (that one definitely took some juridical gymnastics) and that they could look to motive as opposed to the text of the law in making their decision. Yes, the 9th Circuit is now involved in mind reading. Who knew?
“The problem is the judges in the 9th Circuit, particularly the liberal judges, don’t want to give up any of their jurisdiction,” Flake said.
And that’s why we have Congress.
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