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Thread: United States Courts of Appeals

  1. #21
    Administrator Moh's Avatar
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    March 16, 2017

    9th Circuit Judges to Congress: Leave Us Alone

    By MARY CLARE JALONICK
    The Associated Press

    WASHINGTON — Three federal judges on Thursday asked Congress not to break up the vast, San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a longtime target of Republicans and a recent foil to President Donald Trump.

    The 9th Circuit in February refused to immediately reinstate Trump's ban on travelers from seven predominantly Muslim nations, prompting the administration to release a new, narrower ban. On Wednesday, Trump renewed his criticism of the court, saying at a Nashville, Tennessee, event that "people are screaming" to break up the 9th, which encompasses nine Western states.

    "Take a look at how many times they have been overturned with their terrible decisions," Trump said. "Take a look. And this is what we have to live with."

    Republicans have floated efforts to split the circuit for decades, arguing that the court has a liberal slant, a high caseload and distances that are too far for judges to travel. The circuit is the largest of the federal appellate courts, representing 20 percent of the U.S. population. It includes California, Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

    All of the proposals to split it, including the last in 2005, have failed in Congress. Those battles have often pitted lawmakers from California against members of the smaller, more conservative states.

    "Circuit division would have a devastating effect on the administration of justice in the western United States," said Sidney Thomas, the chief circuit judge for the court. "A circuit split would increase delay, reduce access to justice, and waste taxpayer dollars."

    Thomas, who is based in Billings, Montana, was appointed by former President Bill Clinton. The other two judges who testified against the split were Pasadena, California-based Judge Alex Kozinski, appointed by former President Ronald Reagan, and San Francisco-based Judge Carlos Bea, appointed by former President George W. Bush. None were involved in the hearing on Trump's travel ban.

    "I think you should take into consideration the views of people on the ground — the litigants, practitioners and judges in the circuit," Bea said. "The overwhelming majority of the people directly involved is against a split of the Circuit."

    Rep. Darrell Issa, a Californian and a conservative, led the Judiciary subcommittee hearing to examine ideas for restructuring the court.

    "We are all trying to figure out whether to split the court for reasons that should not be ideological," he said.

    But some of his Republican colleagues were more partisan, confronting the judges about their court's decision on Trump's ban and other immigration decisions.

    "There are a lot of us who are outraged," said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah.

    The circuit has 29 judges, many more than the 5th, which is the next largest circuit with 17 judges. It was created in 1891 when the American West was much less populated.

    The hearing did not focus on a specific bill, but there are at least four bills that would create a split. Lawmakers have been hoping for some momentum since the court's high-profile decision on Trump's ban.

    Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, a Republican, has introduced one of the bills. His would carve out Arizona, Nevada, Washington, Idaho, Alaska, and Montana and create a new so-called mountain circuit.

    "I have no doubt that the 9th Circuit works well for its judges," Flake said in a statement submitted for the hearing. "My concern is whether or not it works well for the people of Arizona. It does not."

    Democrats have opposed the split. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., was a leading opponent in the 2005 push, which she said was politically motivated. She has suggested adding judges to the court instead.

    At the hearing, New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler said he believes Republican attempts to break up the circuit are dangerous.

    "Like clockwork, we see proposals to split up the 9th Circuit whenever it delivers a controversial decision with which conservatives disagree," the Democrat said.

    https://www.usnews.com/news/politics...leave-us-alone

  2. #22
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    Trump to Announce Slate of Conservative Federal Court Nominees

    By ADAM LIPTAK
    The New York Times

    WASHINGTON — Having filled a Supreme Court vacancy, President Trump is turning his attention to the more than 120 openings on the lower federal courts. On Monday, he will announce a slate of 10 nominees to those courts, a senior White House official said, the first in what could be near monthly waves of nominations.

    The White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, said the nominations were a vindication of a commitment Mr. Trump made during the campaign “to appoint strong and principled jurists to the federal bench who will enforce the Constitution’s limits on federal power and protect the liberty of all Americans.”

    The administration continues to draw on lists of 21 potential Supreme Court nominees, put together with the help of the conservative Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation, that Mr. Trump issued during the campaign. But it is looking at other sources, too, the White House official said. Mr. McGahn, who has supervised the selection of the nominees, is looking for scholarly credentials and “intellectual boldness,” among other qualities, the official added.

    Jonathan H. Adler, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University, said the appeals court picks on Mr. Trump’s list included “incredibly strong nominees” who were within the judicial mainstream and should “have an intellectual influence on their courts.”

    But liberal groups expressed alarm at the prospect of a federal bench filled with Mr. Trump’s appointees. “The Trump administration has made clear its intention to benefit from Republican obstructionism and to pack the federal courts with ultraconservatives given a stamp of approval by the Federalist Society,” said Nan Aron, the president of the Alliance for Justice, referring to the conservative legal group. “We’ll be scrutinizing the records of these nominees very carefully.”

    The candidates to be announced Monday include two judges from the lists issued during the campaign. Both serve on state supreme courts, and the administration may believe that Senate confirmation and a record of federal judicial opinions will make them more attractive candidates for eventual elevation to the Supreme Court.

    One is Justice Joan L. Larsen, a former law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia and law professor at the University of Michigan, who now serves on the Michigan Supreme Court. She will be nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in Cincinnati.

    The other is Justice David R. Stras, a former law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas and law professor at the University of Minnesota, who now serves on the Minnesota Supreme Court. He will be nominated to the Eighth Circuit, in St. Louis.

    Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, Mr. Trump’s Supreme Court appointee, was on the campaign lists. So was Amul R. Thapar, a federal district court judge in Kentucky, Mr. Trump’s only nominee so far to the lower federal courts. Judge Thapar awaits a vote on his nomination to the Sixth Circuit.

    Monday’s slate of nominees will be followed by additional ones at regular intervals, the White House official said.

    The announcement on Monday will include three other nominees for federal appeals courts: Amy Coney Barrett, a law professor at Notre Dame and former law clerk to Justice Scalia, to the Seventh Circuit in Chicago; John K. Bush, a lawyer in Louisville, Ky., to the Sixth Circuit; and Kevin C. Newsom, a lawyer in Birmingham, Ala., who served as the state’s solicitor general and as a law clerk to Justice David H. Souter, to the 11th Circuit in Atlanta.

    Ms. Aron said Democrats should be wary of Mr. Trump’s nominees. “Given the critical importance of the circuit courts,” she said, “it is incumbent upon the Senate to treat its duty to provide advice and consent very seriously.”

    But Professor Adler said the nominations were consistent with mainstream Republican views and ambitions.

    “There are plenty of things about this president and this administration that are unconventional,” he said, but “thus far, the Trump administration’s judicial nominees have been in line with what you would expect from a Republican president.”

    “These are people who you would expect will have an intellectual influence on their courts,” he added. “That’s something historically that, for the last 35 years, Republican presidents have cared about — about not merely nominating people who are qualified, but who can also be expected to be thought leaders.”

    Mr. Trump also intends to nominate four judges to federal district courts: Dabney L. Friedrich, until recently a member of the United States Sentencing Commission, to the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia; Magistrate Judge Terry F. Moorer of the Federal District Court in Montgomery, Ala., to be a district judge there; David C. Nye, a state judge in Idaho, to the Federal District Court there; and Scott L. Palk, an official at the University of Oklahoma College of Law, to the Federal District Court in Oklahoma City.

    The president will also name Damien M. Schiff, a lawyer with the Pacific Legal Foundation, which supports private property rights, to the United States Court of Federal Claims.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/07/u...T.nav=top-news

  3. #23
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    Judge Phyllis Kravitch dies, recalled as small in stature with giant reputation

    Judge Phyllis Kravitch, who was Chatham County’s first female Superior Court judge before going to the federal appellate bench, was recalled Thursday as a trailblazer who dedicated her life to the law.

    “She has been a role model… she blazed trails for all of us,” Chatham County Superior Court Judge Louisa Abbot said. “She was a tiny, single, Jewish woman in a world dominated by men. She never let that hold her back. She worked harder, read more law and brought all her inestimable skills to every case she handled as a lawyer and a judge.”

    Kravitch died early Thursday at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta. She was 96.

    In addition to being the first locally — and first elected female Superior Court judge in Georgia — Kravitch was President Jimmy Carter’s first female appointee to a federal appellate court post in 1979. She was initially appointed to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, then moved to the newly formed 11th U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 1, 1981.

    She was the third female federal appeals judge nationally and remained active even as a senior judge until about a year ago.

    “When I came to the Superior Court bench, Judge Kravitch was already a legend,” said Chatham Superior Court Judge Penny Haas Freesemann. “I laugh saying this because she was so small, but she was big shoes to fill. She will be missed.”

    Chatham County Chief Superior Court Judge Michael Karpf said Kravitch and U.S. District Judge Marvin Shoob, who died earlier this week, “…were giants of the legal profession.”

    “Judge Kravitch was a trailblazer in setting a path for female attorneys and judges. Fine judges like Louisa Abbot and Penny Freesemann followed the path she set, and might not have achieved their level of success but for Judge Kravitch.”

    ‘A giant reputation’

    The daughter of Savannah defense lawyer Aaron Kravitch, she attended law school at his alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, where she graduated in 1943. She joined his law firm, focusing on defending poor and minorities as one of the first female trial lawyers in the South.

    She would become a leading domestic relations attorney in addition to her work with the Chatham County Board of Education from 1949-1955. On the Superior Court bench, Kravitch was instrumental in establishing the rape-crisis center and family shelter for battered woman.

    On the bench she handled the lion’s share of domestic cases, but her expertise was not limited there.

    In 1978, she ruled that Chatham County was obligated under contracts with the Chatham County Hospital Authority to pay medical care rendered to indigent patients at then-Memorial Medical Center (now Memorial University Medical Center). Her ruling did not set monetary sums owed under the contracts, but hospital officials contended the county had failed to reimburse the hospital for the past five years at a shortfall of more than $4.5 million.

    She would become the first female president of the Savannah Bar Association in 1973 and, after practicing law for 25 years, won election to the Superior Court bench in 1976 and took office January 1, 1977.

    Norman Zoller, former clerk for the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, said he met Kravitch in 1981, said she was well regarded and highly appreciated in legal circles.

    “She was small in stature, but she had a giant reputation,” said Zoller, who now works with the State Bar of Georgia’s Military Legal Assistance Program.

    He said there were “so many stories about her,” including that of a rainy day in New Orleans when she and an aide were enroute to the court and seeking a hard-to-find taxicab.

    Two nattily attired attorneys with brief cases edged Kravitch and her aide to one side and said it was their cab because they had to get to the 5th Circuit Court. The arrived at the court to find a black-robbed Kravitch already on the bench.

    “And they were embarrassed,” Zoller recalled.

    Savannah attorney Pat O’Connor, who recently completed his tour as State Bar of Georgia president, said: “In the 101 years since women were first authorized to practice law in Georgia, Judge Phyllis Kravitch was one of the finest, most admired lawyers and judges this state has seen, regardless of gender.

    “Though small in stature, she was a giant in her intellect and in her authority as a judge.“

    Also in Savannah, attorney Jim Pannell recalled how Kravitch “was always very nice to me. … I loved appearing in front of her.”

    Pannell, who began practice in 1974, said he “always admired her as the only female lawyer who regularly appeared at the courthouse and was never accorded any special privileges because of it.

    “She was not going to be run over, obviously,” he said. “She was very determined and she was not going to let her clients be short changed.”

    http://savannahnow.com/news/2017-06-...ant-reputation

  4. #24
    Administrator Aaron's Avatar
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    On May 25, the United States Senate confirmed Trump's nomination of Amul Thapar to the Sixth Circuit by a 52-44 vote.

    https://www.senate.gov/legislative/L...n=1&vote=00137
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  5. #25
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    Trump Will Get First Appointment To Powerful D.C. Appeals Court

    Judge Janice Rogers Brown will step down from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in the coming months, giving President Donald Trump his first appointment to a court widely considered the second most powerful in the land.

    The Wall Street Journal first reported Brown’s expected retirement, though it was not immediately clear when she will leave active judicial service. What’s more, it is not yet understood if she will simply retire, which will allow her to participate in cases on a limited basis, or resign her commission altogether.

    President George W. Bush appointed Brown to the D.C. Circuit in 2003. She emerged as one of the most conservative jurists in the federal courts during her tenure, writing opinions defending the federal government’s prerogatives in the national security context and criticizing rational basis review, a judicial standard that gives economic regulations the presumption of validity.

    She was the first black woman to serve on the D.C. Circuit.

    Her departure will give President Trump his first appointment to the court. The D.C. Circuit regularly hears cases involving federal agency power, national security, and the powers of the political branches, giving it a substantial profile in federal policymaking.

    The court is also seen as something of a farm team for the Supreme Court. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas and Ruth Bader Ginsburg each served on the D.C. Circuit prior to their elevation to the high court. Judge Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s ill-fated SCOTUS nominee, currently serves as Chief Judge of the D.C. Circuit.

    Democratic appointees currently enjoy a 7-4 majority on the Court.

    http://dailycaller.com/2017/07/09/tr...appeals-court/
    If we showed a caveman technology, he'd think it was magic. If we showed a modern man magic, he'd think it was technology.

  6. #26
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    July 20, 2017

    Senate Confirms Right-Wing Blogger to Federal Appeals Court

    By Adam K. Raymond
    New York Magazine

    A Kentucky lawyer and blogger who endorsed birtherism and compared abortion to slavery has been confirmed by the Senate to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

    John Bush, who practices law in Louisville, kept a blog called Elephants in the Bluegrass for years. He posted under a pseudonym and provided critics with plenty of reasons to oppose him once Trump nominated him to the seat. There was his citation of birther hub World Net Daily, his mockery of climate change, and his hostility toward LGBTQ rights, among other things.

    Bush was confirmed in a 51-47 party-line vote.

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer...als-court.html

  7. #27
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    On August 1, the United States Senate confirmed Trump's nomination of Kevin Newsom to the Eleventh Circuit by a 66-31 vote.

    https://www.senate.gov/legislative/L...n=1&vote=00182
    If we showed a caveman technology, he'd think it was magic. If we showed a modern man magic, he'd think it was technology.

  8. #28
    Senior Member Member Shep3's Avatar
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    Glad to see these good judges (assume they are no Souters) getting confirmed fast. Erickson and Barrett are moving fast on to the 8th and 7th circuits with one having a hearing already and the other one set for next week. With any luck if trump gets to fill all the current vacancies conservatives will be the majority in the 7th, 8th, 6th, and 5th. With a narrowing of the ratio in the others (the 11th has a good chance of flipping as well).

  9. #29
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    Trump gets to appoint new judge to Atlanta federal appeals court

    Judge Frank Hull of the federal appeals court in Atlanta has informed President Donald Trump she intends to take senior status — which means working only part time — giving the president the opportunity to fill a Georgia vacancy on the busy court.

    Among those being considered by the White House for the post are state Supreme Court justices Nels Peterson and Britt Grant and state Court of Appeals Court Judge Elizabeth Branch, according to state officials familiar with the nomination process.

    The White House and Georgia’s two senators, Johnny Isakson and David Perdue, declined to comment.

    Hull, appointed to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by President Bill Clinton, has served on the court since 1997 and has been one of its more conservative jurists. Hull is a former Fulton County trial judge who also served as a U.S. District Court Judge before joining the federal appeals court.

    Hull told Trump “it has been a great honor and privilege” to serve on the federal bench. She said she will take senior status, and continue to hear cases, when her successor is sworn into office or the end of this year, whichever comes first.

    The 12-member court has jurisdiction over Georgia, Alabama and Florida. It often decides high-profile issues concerning the death penalty, voting rights, immigration and civil rights litigation.

    This will be Trump’s second appointment to the 11th Circuit. The Senate recently voted 66-31 to confirm his nominee, Birmingham attorney Kevin Newsom, to fill an Alabama vacancy on the court.

    The three state court jurists being considered by the White House to succeed Hull are:

    Branch, 49, served from 2004 to 2008 in the President George W. Bush administration, first at the Department of Homeland Security and then at the Office of Management and Budget. Before joining the state appeals court in 2012, she worked at the Atlanta law firm Smith, Gambrell & Russell.

    Grant, 39, joined the Georgia Supreme Court in January after serving as solicitor general in the state Attorney General’s Office. She once worked for Gov. Nathan Deal when he was a U.S. congressman and for President George W. Bush’s Domestic Policy Council and Office of Cabinet Affairs.

    Peterson, 38, also joined the Georgia Supreme Court in January, being elevated from the state Court of Appeals. He previously served as then-Gov. Sonny Perdue’s executive counsel, solicitor general in the Attorney General’s Office and vice chancellor for legal affairs to the Board of Regents.

    http://www.myajc.com/news/local/trum...UoxdpH7x3XJcO/

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