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Hating on the Ninth Circuit

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Joe Palazzolo has this post at WSJ Law Blog, titled, "Hating on the Ninth Circuit: Funny But a Little Depressing."  The topic is criticism of the Notorious Ninth by presidential candidates, the candidates' proposals, and some reaction from judges.

Some of the statements by candidates are indeed off the wall.  Newt Gingrich's idea about issuing subpoenas to judges to appear before Congress is typical Newt half-baked.  Chief Judge Kozinski says, "They don't need a subpoena. All they need to do is ask."

Two other judges comment without being named.  This comment is all too typical:

Other Ninth Circuit judges told Law Blog they were amused by all the attention the court was getting, but they said the animosity toward judges reflected a deep misunderstanding of how the federal courts operate, which they attributed to a lack of civics education.
Ah, yes.  Once again, it is the ignorant Great Unwashed who fail to understand that the judges of the Ninth Circuit are simply doing their jobs and showing "loyalty to the Constitution" when they hand down all these controversial rulings.  However, given the number of unanimous reversals of the Ninth by the Supreme Court, as we have noted many times on this blog, the lack of understanding may well be at the Ninth itself.

"And what about abolishing the court altogether?" the post asks.  The appeals do, indeed, have to go somewhere.  A "nuclear option" would be to abolish the Ninth, ousting its judges Thomas Jefferson style, and creating one or two new courts with newly appointed judges to take the appeals instead.  That would be an extreme measure, to be avoided except as a last resort. 

Electing presidents who want to fix the Ninth and put some priority on the appointments is a far better method, albeit much slower.  President Bush, disappointingly, did not put a high enough priority on the problem.  A vacancy was left unfilled for years, and some of the appointments that were made were ill-advised.  President Obama, of course, does not want to fix the Ninth.  Let's hope for change -- that the next president does better.

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Newt's ideas are "half-baked." But some of those "judges" have earned the contempt of the public.

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