This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 20, 2002 11:17 PM. The previous post in this blog was News from the Oregon coast. The next post in this blog is Deliver us from evil. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Saturday, July 20, 2002

Split up the Ninth Circuit?

The stock market is tumbling, and we're on the brink of World War III. What better time for Congress to focus once again on the age-old question of whether to split up the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. What a waste of time, what a pleasant diversion from what really matters. So typical of our federal government.

What would splitting the Ninth Circuit accomplish? Would it create a more "conservative" circuit in the Northwest? I doubt it. Don't look now, but that controversial Pledge of Allegiance ruling was penned by my former employer, Judge Ted Goodwin, born and raised right here in Oregon and just an exile on Main Street in Pasadena. Would it decrease the circuit's reversal rate before the Supreme Court? Another dubious proposition. Would it create greater uniformity of decision within the region? Again, doubtful. Cut down on the judges' caseloads? Of course not. Would it successfully pare down a circuit that is too big? No -- any circuit that includes all of California will be unwieldy, and there is no serious proposal to split that state into two circuits.

Perhaps when the new circuits decided to hear a case "en banc," every judge on the respective new circuit would participate, and not just a dozen or so chosen by lot. Whoopdee doo.

The only real impetus for the renewed interest in dividing the Ninth Circuit is to slap that court in the face for its pledge decision, and many others that have displeased the masses in recent years. It makes no rational sense, but it feels good. As a way of releasing anger, it's a hell of a lot easier than telling the Saudis what we really think of them, or standing up to the stock option lobby. It's like suddenly pulling your money out of the stock market, as if cashing in one's losses somehow punished the corporate crooks who have already made off with your retirement.

So have fun, all ye hairpieces of Congress. Knock yourselves out.

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