Friday, January 12, 2018

WSJ Op-Ed: Split the 9th Cir.

Today's Wall Street Journal has an opinion piece by the Arizona Attorney General and the Cato Institute's Ilya Shapiro: Split Up the Ninth Circuit—but Not Because It’s Liberal:The court has too many judges, leading to backlogs and inconsistency in applying the law. Here are a few quotes:
  • The court covers territory running from Arizona to Alaska and Montana to Hawaii. That’s 40% of the nation’s land mass and 20% of its population. As a result, it decides an extraordinary number of appeals—more than 11,000 a year, half again as many as the second-busiest circuit and nearly triple the average.
  • The Ninth Circuit has an astonishing backlog, accounting for nearly a third of all pending federal appeals. It takes an average of 13 months to decide a case, the longest of any circuit and almost five months more than the national median. 
  • A common idea for splitting the court is to hive off California, Hawaii and the Pacific islands (and possibly Oregon) into a new circuit. Skeptics complain the resulting court would be unbalanced given California’s size. But in many circuits one state dwarfs the others: New York generates nearly 90% of cases in the Second Circuit, Texas 60% in the Fifth, Illinois 64% in the Seventh, and Florida 62% in the 11th (which was split from Fifth in 1981). 
In other 9th Cir. news see: Ninth Circuit Committee to Review Workplace Environment Policies.

Also of note, this great line in this unpub here: "Occasionally we encounter an appeal presenting procedural challenges that threaten to swallow the merits whole. This is one of those."