Professor Arthur Hellman Comments on Prospects for Ninth Circuit Split

Debate has begun over a new proposal to split the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and the Daily Journal, the California legal newspaper, asked Pitt Law Professor Arthur D. Hellman, an expert on the Ninth Circuit, about the prospects for the legislation.

The configuration being proposed of how to split up the Ninth Circuit’s territory is different from past proposals, Hellman told the Journal, but a central question will be how judges would be distributed. “One of the reasons past proposals failed is because they shortchanged California and made an enemy of Sen. Dianne Feinstein,” Hellman said. “If these proponents can make sure California isn’t hurt in a realignment, in terms of judges and resources, they’d have a much better shot of getting this through.”

The sheer vastness and diversity of the Ninth Circuit stretching north to the Arctic Circle, south to the Mexican border, far out in the Pacific Ocean and east to Montana is something to take pride in, Hellman said. “But the question is,” Hellman said, “’Does it best serve the needs of the people?’”

Read more at the Daily Journal (subscription only).

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