Thursday, July 25, 2019

CJ Thomas on running the 9th

Today's DJ reports  9th Circuit chief judge says collaboration is key in running his court -- 9th U.S. Court of Appeals Chief Judge Sidney R. Thomas said it’s important for the judiciary to be ‘functional’ during difficult times.

  • the largest federal appellate court will replace nearly one-third of its cohort in unusually rapid succession, all with Donald J. Trump appointees whose ideologies should rebalance the traditionally liberal circuit in the coming decades.
  • Thomas joined California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye and James C. Duff, director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, in a panel on leadership in the legal profession, and how court executives can boost public confidence in the government's third branch.Thomas identified collaboration as fundamental to his approach.
  • "The judiciary is not a hierarchical enterprise, like a corporation or even an executive agency,"   "If you don't engage people in a vision and a cooperative endeavor, you're not going to succeed."
  • Thomas identified an unwieldy caseload as a continual obstacle bedeviling his circuit. He related how he'd striven to ameliorate the problem in his early years on the bench, but said a recent influx of immigration cases had worsened the issue. "We did have the backlog solved until we got slammed with the immigration cases," Thomas said. "We're back in the soup again."
  • But more vexing, and more corrosive to public faith in the court system, Thomas said, were criticisms the judiciary -- and his circuit in particular -- has weathered in the past few years, often from the other two co-equal branches of government, and often questioning judges' impartiality.
  • "When the other branches are dysfunctional, we have to be functional"