University of Pittsburgh

Arthur Hellman Quoted in Washington Post on Impact of Obama Judicial Appointments

Publish Date/Time: 
June 11, 2014

President Obama’s 49 appointments to the federal courts of appeals have dramatically altered the makeup of the federal appellate judiciary, Pitt Law Professor Arthur Hellman told the Washington Post. The transformation, in just 5 1/2 years, marks “a huge shift in a very short period of time,” Hellman said. And it means that Democratic appointed judges “have the ability to control every important case if they wish to” in those nine circuits.

The reason that’s important is because those courts are often the courts of last resort, Hellman told the Post, since the Supreme Court rules only in about 75 cases a year and has not weighed in many areas, including issues of import to business or the First Amendment rights of student internet expression. The appeals courts, in contrast, issue thousands of opinions a year.

Until the high court speaks, “the law that counts is the law of the circuit,” Hellman said.

Read the full story here.  


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