The Watch

The Watch is concerned about the increasing pressure towards feudalism in the United States from corporations, social regressives, warmongers, and the media. We also are concerned with future history concerning our current times, as non-truths which are “widely reported” become the basis for completely false narratives.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Save the 9th!

9th Circuit Court of Appeals Watch

Republicans in the House and the Senate are trying to fragment the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Republicans, who control the presidency, both houses of Congress, and have appointed the majority of judges, want to torpedo the 9th Circuit – the last bastion of liberal ideals or even of moderate judicial philosophy…

Republicans want to isolate California from the rest of the country and make a new 12th Circuit for the remaining 7 states that are currently served by the 9th. Republicans insist that this is because the 9th Circuit is too large, despite the fact that the majority of judges on the 9th Circuit do not support the change.

Furthermore, the Republicans -- who consistently claim that they favor smaller government -- want to install another 60 judges to the appeals courts. Since the Republicans control the presidency and the Senate, they will be able to appoint ultraconservatives to dilute any moderate or liberal-leaning circuits, all but guaranteeing a monopoly of the courts by conservatives.

-John Locke

Howard Mintz writes:

The legislation to split the court, backed by House judiciary chair James Sensenbrenner Jr., a Wisconsin Republican, would create two appeals courts and essentially isolate California in a 9th Circuit joined only by Hawaii, Guam and the northern Mariana Islands. The rest of the states in the current 9th Circuit would shift to a new 12th Circuit.

Republican senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and John Ensign of Nevada have co-sponsored nearly identical legislation in the Senate.

“It would be irresponsible for us not to act,” Murkowski said after recent hearings on the subject.

The latest movement is considered an unprecedented threat by those who favor keeping the 9th Circuit intact, which includes the vast majority of judges on the 9th Circuit; Democrats, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein; and much of the legal establishment. Foes of a split argue the court is efficient and any division would eliminate consistent application of federal law for 58 million people in its orbit.

"We're taking this very seriously,'' said Arizona-based 9th Circuit Chief Judge Mary Schroeder, a leader of opposition to the split.

There are a number of reasons for their concern. Republicans have made reshaping the judiciary a priority, and the 9th Circuit is considered a plum target because it is the only appeals court left dominated by Democratic appointees. Unlike past attempts to divide the court, the House and Senate versions not only call for splitting the 9th Circuit but also for adding new federal judges to courts around the country. The House version would add more than 60 federal judges nationwide, including seven to a newly formed 9th Circuit. Finally, the House legislation was attached last week to a budget spending-reduction bill, making it tougher for Democrats to torpedo it in the Senate, where the split effort has run aground in the past. Feinstein vowed to resist the maneuver, but everyone involved in the debate views the House approach as proof Republicans are pulling out all the stops to break up the court.



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