Bench Memos

The Supreme Court of the Ninth Circuit

The Supreme Court continues to spend a disproportionate amount of its time on Ninth Circuit cases. According to this Daily Journal article, “Of 54 cases the court has agreed to hear so far, 18 are 9th Circuit rulings.” The article tries to put this Ninth Circuit caseload in context:

The 9th Circuit is the biggest circuit by area and population, and its caseload constitutes 20 percent of the total heard by federal circuit courts. But its rulings make up 33.3 percent of the cases the Supreme Court has agreed to review so far.  

I think that the Supreme Court’s docket of Ninth Circuit cases is even more disproportionate than this context suggests:

1.  Six of the cases on the Court’s docket have come up through state-court systems, so the relevant denominator of cases that have worked their way through the federal system is 48, not 54. That adjustment would bump the Ninth Circuit’s share of federal cases up to 37.5%.

2.  Yet another case (in Schwarzenegger v. Plata) is from a special three-judge district court in California that included notorious Ninth Circuit judge Stephen Reinhardt as one of its members. The two other judges were hard-Left Carter-appointed district judges who fully embody the zaniness of the Ninth Circuit. So it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to count this case as number 19 from the Ninth Circuit. That would take the Ninth Circuit’s share right up near 40%.

3.  In other words, the Ninth Circuit, with 20% of the total cases heard by federal circuit courts, accounts for nearly 40% of the Court’s cases from the federal system.  The other circuits, with 80% of the cases, account for around 60%.  So, compared to the baseline of the other circuits, the Ninth Circuit is overrepresented by a factor of 2.5 or higher (2.67, if you round the numbers in this paragraph).

Most Popular

White House

Trump’s Disgraceful Endgame

President Trump said the other day that he’d leave office if he loses the vote of the Electoral College on December 14. This is not the kind of assurance presidents of the United States typically need to make, but it was noteworthy given Trump’s disgraceful conduct since losing his bid for reelection to ... Read More
White House

Trump’s Disgraceful Endgame

President Trump said the other day that he’d leave office if he loses the vote of the Electoral College on December 14. This is not the kind of assurance presidents of the United States typically need to make, but it was noteworthy given Trump’s disgraceful conduct since losing his bid for reelection to ... Read More
Elections

The Post-Election Madness Gets Worse

On the menu today: Two lawyers who aren’t formally on the president’s legal team but who keep filing lawsuits on his behalf tell Georgia Republicans to not vote in the Senate runoffs; Michael Flynn endorses a call for “limited martial law” and a “re-vote” of the presidential election; and the ... Read More
Elections

The Post-Election Madness Gets Worse

On the menu today: Two lawyers who aren’t formally on the president’s legal team but who keep filing lawsuits on his behalf tell Georgia Republicans to not vote in the Senate runoffs; Michael Flynn endorses a call for “limited martial law” and a “re-vote” of the presidential election; and the ... Read More
Elections

Our Conspiracy-Minded Subculture

On the menu today: Attorney General William Barr declares that he and the Department of Justice have found no evidence of widespread vote fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election; some Trump fans conclude the attorney general has been a deep-state sleeper all along; and why this country is likely ... Read More
Elections

Our Conspiracy-Minded Subculture

On the menu today: Attorney General William Barr declares that he and the Department of Justice have found no evidence of widespread vote fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election; some Trump fans conclude the attorney general has been a deep-state sleeper all along; and why this country is likely ... Read More
Law & the Courts

The NLRB’s Humorless Insensibility

The text of the National Labor Relations Act does not, so far as we can tell, require the National Labor Relations Board or its personnel to have their sense of humor surgically removed. Nor does it prohibit the NLRB’s judicial proceedings from considering context, common sense, or elementary reality in making ... Read More
Law & the Courts

The NLRB’s Humorless Insensibility

The text of the National Labor Relations Act does not, so far as we can tell, require the National Labor Relations Board or its personnel to have their sense of humor surgically removed. Nor does it prohibit the NLRB’s judicial proceedings from considering context, common sense, or elementary reality in making ... Read More