SAN FRANCISCO — A Republican push to split up the 9th Circuit
Court of Appeals is gaining ground on Capitol Hill, as the Trump
administration has rolled out a revised version of the travel-ban
executive order, more than a month after the original version was
blocked by the court.
On Jan. 27, President Trump signed an executive order halting all
refugee admissions and temporarily barring people from seven
Muslim-majority countries. These were Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia,
Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
In a report from BBC
News, the order, among other factors, created a suspension of the
Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days, placed an indefinite ban on
Syrian refugees, imposed a 90-day visa suspension from the seven
listed countries and a cap of 50,000 refugees to be accepted in 2017,
compared to a limit of 110,000 set by former President Barack Obama.
However, in a move that sparked worldwide protests and legal
challenges, a federal judge in Seattle suspended the ban, allowing
previously banned visitors to come to the U.S. pending an appeal by
But as CNN
reported, Trump signed a new version of his immigration executive
order on March 7, one that removed Iraq from the previous list of
banned countries and temporarily bans all refugees, among other
changes. The revised ban is set to begin March 16.
Talk, though, is circulating among the upper echelons that the
Republicans want to create a new circuit court. Arizona Republican
Sens. Jeff Flake and John McCain recently introduced legislation to
take six states out of the current San Francisco-based court to
create a new 12th Circuit.
According to Fox
News, Flake and McCain argued that the 9th Circuit “is too big,
too liberal and too slow resolving cases.” If the circuit is split
up according to the legislation, the 9th's judicial arena
would contain only California, Oregon, Hawaii and island districts
the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam. In the proposed bill, the 12th
Circuit would include Nevada, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Arizona and
“We have a bedrock principle of swift justice, and if you live
in Arizona or anywhere in the 9th Circuit, you just don’t have it,”
Flake said in the Fox News report.
Flake added that the court typically can take 15 months to hand
down a decision, which, according to him, is too long.
This, however, is not the first time that the workings of the 9th
Circuit have come into question. For years, conservatives have
reportedly nicknamed the court the “Nutty 9th” or “9th Circus”
in the wake of its many rulings that have been overturned by the U.S.
As Fox News reported, congressional efforts to split the 9th
Circuit go as far back as 1941. The circuit was created in 1891, but
at the time it was sparsely inhabited with only 4 percent of the U.S.
population residing in the area, compared to 20 percent today.
Congress did appoint a commission to look at the federal appeals
courts’ structure in 1998; however, the commission recommended
against splitting up the 9th Circuit.