University of Pittsburgh

Arthur Hellman on Impact of Obama Nominees on Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Publish Date/Time: 
April 21, 2014

Professor Arthur Hellman was quoted extensively by the Recorder, the west coast legal newspaper, in an article on the impact of President Obama’s appointees on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. If one pending nominee is confirmed, the Ninth Circuit will have its full complement, 29 active judges, with Democratic appointees outnumbering Republicans, 20-9. “This will be a moment in history—29 active judges with this very substantial imbalance politically,” Hellman said.

While he cautioned that political pedigrees don’t dictate results from case to case, over the long haul Hellman expects two more Obama appointees to increase liberal outcomes, particularly when the court is deciding which important, thorny issues to review en banc. “It may not be a huge shift, but I think we will see something of a shift in that direction,” he said.

Hellman believes the addition of two more Democratic appointees will be felt when the court holds votes on whether to take cases en banc. He points out that even if five Democratic appointees were to side with Republicans, the remaining Democrats could still form a majority to call a case en banc.

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