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Court Packing

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Judge William Pryor of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has this op-ed in the NYT:

A prominent conservative law professor, Steven Calabresi, and one of his former students recently published a proposal to expand the federal judiciary by creating hundreds of new judgeships. A founder and chairman of the Federalist Society (of which I have been a member since 1984), Professor Calabresi promoted his "judgeship bill" as a way of "undoing" President Barack Obama's judicial legacy. But there is nothing conservative -- or otherwise meritorious -- about this proposal.

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I respect Judge Pryor immensely, but there seems to be room for more federal judges.

And the history is compelling. Democrats have polluted the bench with people like Reinhardt (who is bright) and Kim McLane Wardlaw (not so much), and then they have stiffed the GOP. Court-packing would be fighting fire with fire.

I think a large part of the problem is "collegiality." Kim McLane Wardlaw is clearly an embarrassment (four summary reversals in her career). Yet, federal judges won't bother to call her out (justice, of course, be damned). I have a feeling that if you asked a federal judge whether the public should have trust in her competence, the federal judge would be upset at the temerity of the lawyer asking the question. And what of Reinhardt--caught red-handed mischaracterizing the record? How is the public supposed to trust him?

With all due respect to Judge Pryor, his comment is born out of a bit of arrogance. While I would agree that the judiciary should be apolitical, that ship has sailed. Pryor cannot then complain about those who want to alter its course to correct the results of that politicization. Five of Judge Pryor's colleagues voted to stay an execution over the issue of the identity of the maker of LI drugs checked for purity. Why wouldn't politicians committed to the rule of law want to dilute the power of those lawless judges?

Pryor should reconsider his genteel sanctimony.

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