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Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

Circuit Breakers



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The Griffith confirmation continues the remaking of the D.C. Circuit, considered by many to be the most powerful appellate court short of the Supreme Court in the country. The court was more or less equally divided between Democrat and Republican appointees at the beginning of W’s first term. But given some major retirements and three Bush appointments, the makeup of the Court is now 7-4 in favor of Republican appointees. With the impending retirement of former Chief Judge Harry Edwards, a Carter appointee, and the pending nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, the balance could shift even more. Democrats on the Hill are obviously keenly aware of this shift, which is likely why, as Ed Whelan reported yesterday, Kavanaugh’s confirmation may be held up a while.



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