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House Committee Advances Bill Reshaping 9th Circuit

By William Vogeler, Esq. on September 18, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

As President Trump reshapes the federal courts through judicial appointments, the U.S. House of Representatives is considering even bigger changes.

The House Judiciary Committee has approved three wide-ranging bills, which will now go to the entire legislative body. The measures cover so many subjects that the American Bar Association has asked the lawmakers to slow down.

ABA President Bob Carson said the proposals deserve more time for review. But one bill -- to split the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals -- has been there before.

The Circuit Act

Carlson voiced objections in a letter to House leadership. The Circuit Act would divide the Ninth Circuit into three regions:

  • The Northern Division, comprised of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington
  • The Middle Division, with the Northern and Eastern districts of California, Guam, Hawaii, and the Northern Marianas
  • The Southern Division, which would include Arizona and the Central and Southern districts of California

The bill, H.R. 6754, revives legislation from 1998. That, of course, didn't end well.

According to the ABA Journal, "even the most ardent supporters of restructuring haven't agreed on how it should be split."

The Other Acts

The other bills -- three of four that were approved by the judiciary committee -- primarily ban nationwide injunctions in non-class actions and make other judiciary reforms.

Carson asked the House to delay action on all the reforms, except one that would create more judgeships. That bill would add 52 new judicial positions in the district courts.

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