Notoriously Liberal 9th Circuit Could Tilt Conservative After Resignation of Judge for Harassment Claims

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Rush Limbaugh has long used the nickname  “9th Circus” for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and with good reason. The court has had a history of being the most liberal Federal Appeals Court in the country for decades. Finally, that may change.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is the largest of the 13 federal courts of appeal in the country, covering nine western states and the District of Guam and District of the Northern Mariana Islands. It encompassees about 20% of the U.S. population. It is located in San Francisco and is made up of 29 judges. The 9th Circuit hears federal trial cases on appeal.

This particular appellate court has a long standing reputation of being packed with liberals. It also has a reputation for having an unusually large number of its decisions appealed to and overturned by the Supreme Court. According to, in a single term in the 1990’s, 27 out of 28 of its decisions were vacated or reversed when appealed to the Supreme Court.

This year, the 9th Circuit was even the target of some Trump tweets as it ruled against his travel ban, which the Supreme Court has since allowed to be implemented. In addition, the court ruled that federal funding could not be withheld from so called “sanctuary cities” that did not comply with federal immigration laws. In April, Trump tweeted “First the Ninth Circuit rules against the ban & now it hits again on sanctuary cities-both ridiculous rulings. See you in the Supreme Court!” The 9th Circuit even used Trump’s tweets as evidence against the ban in June. Trump certainly would love to see this court undergo a massive change, and now he has the chance to make it happen.

There are already five vacancies at the 9th Circuit and there are two more on the horizon with upcoming retirements. And this week, another spot opened up with the resignation of Judge Alex Kozinski for, wait for it, sexual harassment allegations. (I know, shocking)


Two attorneys are hopeful that the most liberal appellate court in the nation will become conservative.

Judge Alex Kozinski of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals announced his retirement Monday after women alleged he subjected them to inappropriate sexual conduct or comments.

“Good riddance that this judge is gone – is retiring for this sexual harassment allegation,” Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver commented on Kozinski’s retirement. “This is a very serious situation, and I think it’s about time to get rid of a lot more judges – not just for this, but for their judicial activism.”

According to the Associated Press, Kozinski’s retirement leaves five seats open on the 9th Circuit – with two more judges already having announced their intention to retire next year. This gives President Donald Trump potentially seven seats to fill on the largest and most liberal appeals court in the country.

“This is good news,” Staver continued. “That will reshape the future of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for the better. What we want are judges who respect the Constitution – not activist judges who make it up as they go.

Pacific Justice Institute President Brad Dacus agrees with Staver’s take on the situation.

“The problem is, it’s only good news to the extent to which there is a president in the White House willing to appoint conservative justices, which so-far we see is exactly who we have in the White House,” Dacus argued. “But we also have to have a United States Senate that has a majority with the same worldview – the same perspective – and if this Senate changes hands in the 2018 election, then we can have a major change in terms of the quality of justices … in terms of the extent to which they respect the Constitution of the United States being placed on the 9th Circuit.”

These seven seats need to be filled and President Trump would be wise to fill them with solid Constitutionalist judges as soon as possible. These appointments have life terms and the makeup of the court can last until well after Trump has left office.

President Trump has already appointed 12 appellate court judges, more than any other president in history. This is a major accomplishment that really doesn’t get the attention that it deserves. Sometimes people forget that our third branch of the government has a substantial amount of power, just as much as Congress and the President! These appointments are far more important than the coverage they get would assume.

When Trump appointed Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, even “never-Trumpers” were pleasantly surprised at his conservative decision. Should Trump carry forward that type of selection to the 9th Circuit, we will see a major shift in the makeup of the court.

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