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Will Trump Flip the 9th Circuit Court Conservative?

Will Trump Flip the 9th Circuit Court Conservative?
A view of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on June 12, 2017, in San Francisco, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

By Thursday, 26 April 2018 12:51 PM Current | Bio | Archive

What most Americans do not get from their regular sources for news is how President Trump is moving forward with his agenda in the most decisive manner. While liberal media outlets like CNN and The New York Times portray the White House as in disarray over Russian collusion, etc., that is far from the truth.

Take for example what is happening below the surface of everyday news such as the changes in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Long considered the most liberal of the jurisdictions, that may be about to dramatically change. In fact, it could be an entire makeover if the president and Republican-held Senate have their way.

There are seven court seats up for grabs in the next couple of years. Naturally the Democrats/liberals will do whatever they can to protect them. The stakes are high and the entire ideology of the Ninth Circuit hangs in the balance.

Understandably, Trump and his conservative allies want to select young, ideologically conservative nominees to fill vacant seats. That judge DNA would dominate court rulings for decades to come. Adding as many as seven conservatives would most certainly push the traditionally liberal circuit further to the right.

Conceivably Trump has six years to get the job done. At this juncture in his presidency, there is little to suggest he will not succeed in being re-elected to a second term. But he needs to act quickly. So far, he's only made two nominations.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is located in ultra-liberal San Francisco. It covers nine western states, has 29 active judgeships and seven vacancies, with an eighth coming in August. Its current political split is 16-6.

There is a bit of history behind this jurisdiction becoming so liberal. In the late 1970’s, there was a major expansion of the Ninth. It allowed then-President Carter, along with ultra-liberal California Democratic Senator Alan Cranston to, so to speak, “pack the court.” The ideology has been uneven ever since. It has been a push ever since.

That can be seen with the fact that Republican President George W. Bush appointed six justices during his tenure in the Oval Office. That was evened-out by President Barack Obama who appointed seven justices. When Trump arrived, there were four judgeships to fill and now that has doubled.

It has been the dream of conservatives for over 40 years to even the odds. They have even tried splitting the jurisdiction into two distinct circuit courts, arguing the caseload is far too large for its capacity to function normally. Critics are quick to point out the district it is too big and too liberal.

The Ninth District Court has been called the “Nutty 9th” or the “9th Circus.” That can be largely attributed to the many rulings emanating from the ninth that have later been overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

One such glaring case that was overturned in the U.S. Supreme Court was the 2002 ruling that the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional because of its use of the phrase “under God.” But many other controversial decisions by the Ninth were considered radical by the high court, including assisted suicide and constitutional rights to own a gun. Between the years 2010-15, the Supreme Court reversed about 70 percent of the total cases before it, while the Ninth’s was 79 percent.

It has only gotten worse. The reversal rate for the 2016 court year was an 88 percent rate. It can be said that most of the rulings that year were not reviewed by the high court, leaving them in place. Nevertheless, the Ninth’s reputation for being the lone wolf is legendary.

It now looks like a legendary showdown is about to occur between President Donald Trump. There is no love lost for the Ninth Circuit and the Democrats/liberals trying to protect their own judicial turf. Trump just may have the fortitude to get it done.

The president’s success could hinge on how Republicans do in the midterm elections. At this stage, the GOP expects to pick up between three and eight Senate seats. If they do, Trump will get his judicial picks through unless they appear unqualified or some other urgent fallacy.

But then there is the dreaded “blue slips.” These were created in 1917. They are not anything that is law in the definition of the word. But they are a courtesy extended by the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman. It allows home-state senators to approve or reject appointees from their states.

It is hard to imagine such a tradition will stop a man like Trump. During the last 100-years of so-called blue slips, both parties have used them to obstruct presidential picks. But in a country as divided as the U.S. is today, is that tradition even viable anymore?

Senate Democrats may have signed their own death warrant on the subject. They changed the rules in 2013 to prevent 41 senators from blocking nominees after evaluating their credentials. Of course now that they are a minority, their argument has changed. Now they say a single senator should be able to block nominees before the Senate Judiciary Committee can check out a candidate’s credentials.

There is little chance any of this will matter to the bombastic Trump who has been attacked by the Democrats and their media allies without hesitation since day one of his presidency. It is hard to believe he will stand aside for such tradition.

The blue chip furor has been bandied about for several years. But perhaps the final word on Trump’s future decision came from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). He has favored using blue slips for district court nominees rather than appeals court nominees.

That is something Trump is sure to seize on as he goes about reconstructing the ideology of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. He will assuredly do whatever has to be done to achieve his goal.

Dwight L. Schwab, Jr. is an award-winning national political and foreign affairs columnist and published author. He has spent over 35 years in the publishing industry. His long-running articles include many years at Examiner.com and currently Newsblaze.com. Dwight is an author of two highly acclaimed books, "Redistribution of Common Sense - Selected Commentaries on the Obama Administration 2009-2014" and "The Game Changer - America's Most Stunning Election in History." He is a native of Portland, Oregon, a journalism graduate from the University of Oregon, and a resident of the SF Bay Area. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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What most Americans do not get from their regular sources for news is how President Trump is moving forward with his agenda in the most decisive manner.
ninth circuit, court, trump, conservative
Thursday, 26 April 2018 12:51 PM
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