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Splitting the Ninth, Again

The idea of splitting the Ninth Circuit is in the news again.  In this article by Sarah Westwood of the Washington Examiner, based on an interview, she quotes President Trump saying he has considered the proposals to break up the Ninth.  He states that his main concern is judge-shopping.

At the WaPo, Amber Phillips writes, "So, no. President Trump cannot wave his pen and break up a federal court like he suggested he wants to do."  Phillips does not quote any language by the President saying or implying that he believes he can do that unilaterally, and there is none in Westwood's article, so I don't know where she gets that.  It would, of course, take an act of Congress.

Phillips goes on to state some reasons for not breaking up the Ninth, but she fails to recognize the best one from the President's point of view.  Breaking up the Ninth would aggravate, not ameliorate, the judge-shopping problem that is the President's foremost, and entirely legitimate, concern.

If the states with larger percentages of person of sense, such as Arizona and Alaska, were split off into a Twelfth Circuit, the remaining Ninth Circuit would be even loonier lefty than it is now.  Since plaintiffs, at present, have too much power to choose the venue, loony lefty plaintiffs would shop their suits to the even-leftier rump Ninth.

The answer to judge-shopping is venue reform, not splitting the Ninth. 

Fixing the Ninth will require a series of solid appointments over a good many years.  If President Trump serves two terms, he may make a good dent in it.  Let's hope he gives fixing the Ninth a higher priority than President Bush did.

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