Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
The Republican-led House voted Tuesday to break up the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, an action opponents said was motivated by conservatives’ ire over some of the court’s rulings. Nine states are currently covered by the 9th Circuit, but the legislation would leave just California and Hawaii in a revamped lineup. The proposal splits the seven other states into two new courts: one to handle appeals from Arizona, Idaho, Montana and Nevada; and the other to oversee Alaska, Oregon and Washington. Supporters said the new lineup reflects the need to address the region’s bulging caseload and rapid population growth. They denied the vote was an expression of displeasure with court rulings, including the 2002 opinion that declared the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional when recited in public schools. “The need to split the 9th Circuit is undeniable. It has grown so rapidly that we will have to split this court,” said Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho. However, the measure, which passed by a vote of 205-194, was not expected to become law because of strong opposition in the Senate. It is part of a larger bill that passed by voice vote and would create 58 new judgeships across the nation. Opponents said the legislation’s certain death in the Senate was evidence that Republicans were more interested, in the words of Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., in providing “campaign-season cannon fodder” to their political base than passing a bill that would relieve overburdened federal courts. Rep. Rick Renzi, R-Ariz., described 9th Circuit judges as activists who are “legislating from the bench.” California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, and a majority of 9th Circuit judges say the split is unnecessary. Most of the 21 California Republicans in the House initially opposed the measure, and their votes would have insured its defeat. But at least 10 Californians changed their votes to “yes” after huddling on the House floor, while five Republicans maintained their opposition. “We don’t want to create a hyper-liberal court in California” by putting the court’s more conservative judges in the two new circuits, said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., among the vote-switchers. Lawmakers were reassured that the new 9th Circuit would be given seven new judgeships to dilute, in effect, what they see as its liberal leanings, Rohrabacher said. The bill is S. 878. Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Benefits of a Digital Membership:

  • Free access to 1 article* every 30 days
  • Access to the entire ALM network of websites
  • Unlimited access to the ALM suite of newsletters
  • Build custom alerts on any search topic of your choosing
  • Search by a wide range of topics

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?

Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.