The ‘9th Circus’ is Badly Broken—Let’s Fix It

The Sacramento Bee recently editorialized in defense of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a frequently (and legitimately) maligned court that has periodically been the target of barbs by President Donald Trump—among other critics. The 9th Circuit, headquartered in San Francisco, is by far the largest of the 13 appellate courts in the federal system, encompassing California—with a population of 39 million alone—and eight otherwestern states, along with Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. With 29 authorized “active” (as opposed to retired) judges, and four current vacancies, the unwieldy 9th Circuit is nearly twice as large as the next biggest court of appeals, the 5th Circuit (which includes Texas), and almost five times the size of the smallest, the 1st Circuit in New England. The states comprising the 9th Circuit account for one-fifth of the entire United States population.

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