We support bill to leave 9th Circuit

Whoever said “it’s too big to fail” wasn’t talking about the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

The court has made international news of late. That’s the court that rejected an appeal from the Department of Justice to restore President Donald Trump’s executive order signed Jan. 27 banning travelers from seven nations — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — with ties to terrorism from entering the U.S.

That same court is receiving more local attention now as Gov. Doug Ducey and Sen. Jeff Flake campaign to abandon the overburdened district and join a newly formed one.

House Resolution 250 — the Judicial Administration and Improvement Act — was introduced Jan. 4 by U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs, R-District 5. Cosponsors include Reps. Trent Franks, R-District 8, David Schweikert, R-District 6, Paul Gosar, R-District 4, and Martha McSally, R-District 2.

The bill would essentially split the 9th District into two districts by creating new 9th and 12th districts. The new 9th District would keep California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands; and the new 12th District would get Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Montana and Nevada.

You’re probably thinking this red state just wants to sever ties with the ultra liberal court, and that could have something to do with it, but it’s more about expediency.

According to a guest commentary in the Feb. 21 Arizona Republic, Ducey and Flake cite the 9th Circuit’s overburdened caseload as the impetus for H.R. 250. They say the 9th circuit hears about 12,000 appeals every year, which is 30 percent more than the next most active court. They state that it takes more than 15 months for most appeals to be decided.

Another reason they list is that the 9th Circuit’s rulings are overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court 77 percent of the time. And that the 9th is so large — it comprises 29 judges — that it never sits as a single body. “Whereas every other circuit regularly meets as one court to clarify inconsistencies in law, the 9th Circuit selects 11 of its 29 judges to set circuit-wide precedent,” the guest column reads. So about a third of the 9th Circuit’s judges decide law for the entire court.

This wouldn’t be the first time a new circuit was created for the same reasons. An 11th Circuit was created in 1980 to alleviate the overburdened 5th Circuit. By the early 1960s, that court was the busiest federal appeals court. It took 20 years of debate, but the court was finally divided and the new 5th Circuit kept Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi; and the new 11th Circuit got Florida, Georgia and Alabama.

So where do we stand on the 9th Circuit’s ruling on Trump’s travel ban? Who cares? We care that it takes more than 15 months to decide a case. We care that 77 percent of the time, that decision is overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. We care that only a third of the court sets precedent. We care that the court is failing because it is too big.

We endorse H.R. 250 and urge you to contact your congressmen to let them know you do, too.

To find out who your congressman is, go to www.house.gov and enter your ZIP code under “Find Your Representative.”

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