"Yet this Administration has refused to take any steps to address our concerns about the need to maintain balance on the D.C. Circuit." So said Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) in this press release in 2003. Okay, Senator Leahy believes federal courts of appeals should be balanced. Got it.
Further, Senator Leahy believes that the Judicial Conference is correct that more appellate judges are needed, especially in the Ninth Circuit. According to this story in the L.A. Daily Journal, available through How Appealing, Senator Leahy will introduce legislation to add 67 district judgeships and 15 appellate ones, 7 of the latter on the Ninth.
To reach the logical conclusion, we need one more premise, but one that is not genuinely debatable among objective court watchers. The Ninth is presently out of balance, listing badly to the left. It is undebatable, that is, if one defines balance relative to the objective standard of the American median. Some people define balance subjectively, relative to themselves, so hard-core conservatives think the median voter is liberal, and hard-core liberals think the median voter is conservative. Objectively, the median is by definition the median.
So, the way to fix the judge shortage and simultaneously restore the balance that Senator Leahy says is needed, and is painfully obviously lacking, is to allow President Bush to name the 7 new judges.
According the story, the bill postpones the appointments until the next administration. One other proposition is perfectly clear. If President Obama, H. Clinton, or Edwards fills the seven new slots, the Ninth will be irretrievably lost for another generation, not just to the left but to the fringe. It was a similar expansion in the Carter Administration that created the problem in the first place.
You were saying something about "balance," Senator Leahy?