Thursday, June 9, 2016

UPDATE: Ducey's, Arizona's Peevish Bill To Split 9th Circuit Going Nowhere Slow

In January, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and all seven Republican members of Arizona's Congressional delegation announced a coordinated effort to split the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in two. The effort apparently ended that week, as the bills die a slow death (in a Congress full of slowly-dying measures).

(The 9th Circuit issue was brought back to our attention this morning as the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a 9th Circuit decision on a 6-2 vote.)

When the Arizona Republicans announced their effort, the justifications were that the 9th Circuit "is by far the most overturned and overburdened in the country".  Arizona's Politics published a Fact Check that concluded that the false and misleading use of objective evidence warranted a reversal of their claims. (That article includes extensive analysis of SCOTUSblog statistics and the annual report from the Administrative Office which oversees federal courts.)

Sen. Jeff Flake and Rep. Matt Salmon each introduced an identical bill to create a new 12th Circuit to include Arizona, Alaska, Idaho, Montana and Nevada. Arizona's other Republicans co-sponsored the measures.  Since then, neither bill has added any co-sponsors or received a committee hearing.

Before the AZ GOP effort, the Supreme Court had affirmed 9th Circuit decisions regarding Arizona's anti-illegal immigration SB1070 law and Republicans' efforts to overturn the state's independent redistricting.  And, after the effort began (and, apparently ended), the Supreme Court UNANIMOUSLY affirmed the 9th Circuit's decision turning away a 2nd GOP challenge to Arizona's redistricting.

Side note: It is interesting to re-read Ducey's (misleading) comments about the "overburdened" 9th Circuit in light of his successful effort to add two Justices to the "overburdened" Arizona Supreme Court.

(Tempe political law attorney Paul Weich contributed to this article.)

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