The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco, has been a target of Republicans for decades.
It routinely is the most overturned court in the U.S. In 2012, the Supreme Court reversed 86 percent of the rulings it reviewed from the ninth.
Perhaps the most controversial decision was striking down the Pledge of Allegiance due to the phrase “under God.” It also ruled citizens have no constitutional right to own guns and is often over-ruled when showing its disdain for capital punishment.
Critics deride the court, calling it the “Ninth Circus” and the “Nutty Ninth.”
Arizona Senator Jeff Flake is the latest Republican to introduce legislation to break up the ninth — which covers nine western states, with 20 percent of the country’s population.
“We have a bedrock principle of swift access to justice, and if you live in Arizona or anywhere in the ninth circuit, you just don’t have it. Fifteen months it takes for the average decision to be handed down, and that’s far too long,” Sen. Flake said.
Flake’s bill would create a new twelfth circuit court, taking five states from the ninth.
Some think the court’s “liberal” label is overblown.
“The thing about the law is there’s ambiguity. There are — fair and reasonable and smart minds can differ on important legal questions.”
Now the ninth circuit is about to make a key decision on President Trump’s travel ban from seven countries with majority Muslim populations.
Only one of the judges randomly assigned to the case — Richard Clifton — was appointed by a Republican. William Canby was appointed by Jimmy Carter and Michelle Friedland by Barack Obama.
During the oral argument, Judge Friedland was especially hard on the Justice Department’s lawyer.
“Has the government pointed to any evidence connecting these countries with terrorism?” Judge Friedland asked.
Making a prediction from oral arguments is tough. But a former U.S. attorney under President Bush thinks President Trump will likely suffer another setback.
“Listening to them, I think there may be an inclination to leave Judge Robart’s order in tact and let Judge Robart’s process continue.”
Leaving Judge Robart’s decision in force would also leave the restraining order in place. Still, there are others who think despite this being the ninth circuit, a panel could come up with a narrow ruling to reinstate the travel ban for those who are not green card holders and have never set foot in the U.S.