Senator Hatch on the D.C. Circuit Nominations

by Ammon Simon

Senator Orrin Hatch weighs in on President Obama’s D.C. Circuit court-packing plan:

The Senate should not consider another nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit until the need to fill this vacancy is clear and while more pressing vacancies on other courts have not been filled. So wrote Judiciary Committee Democrats in July 2006 when objecting to consideration of a D.C. Circuit nominee from President Bush. By their own standard, the Senate should not consider these new nominees to this court.

Using any relevant benchmark, and even with fewer active judges than in 2006, the D.C. Circuit has the lowest caseload in the country. Judges there handle 40% fewer cases than judges on the next busiest circuit. New cases have dropped by 13% since 2006. Judges who have taken “senior status” also handle cases, and the D.C. Circuit’s ratio of senior-to-active judges is nearly the highest of any circuit. The fact is the D. C. Circuit is no busier today than it was in 2006, when Democrats said that.

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