An extra seat for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals cleared Congress on Tuesday and is headed to President Bush’s desk.
The U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Court Security Improvement Act on Monday night, and the House of Representatives approved it on a voice vote Tuesday. Buried in that bill is language that removes one seat from the D.C. Circuit and moves it to the 9th.
Makes sense to us. Any court that takes the summer off, as the D.C. Circuit essentially does, isn’t exactly overwhelmed. Meanwhile, the Ninth Circuit is by far the nation’s largest and busiest federal appeals court. It’s so huge that it has been the subject of repeated attempts at a split (so far unsuccessful, perhaps because of the Ninth Circuit Curse).
As Dan Levine’s article notes, “the seat won’t materialize until Jan. 21, 2009 — the day after President Bush leaves office.” We have no doubt that President Hillary Clinton will be able to fill it with a distinguished jurist.
Indeed, President Clinton may be able to reshape the Ninth Circuit, in the same that President Carter reshaped it — in a way that still endures today, as reflected in the court’s strong leftward tilt. Many of the liberal lions who are eligible for senior status but have declined to take it, such as Judges Harry Pregerson and Stephen Reinhardt, may finally be willing to do so, once they know that the court’s future is in President Clinton’s capable hands.
Congress OKs Extra Seat for 9th Circuit [The Recorder via How Appealing]