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Crapo Introduces Legislation to Split Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Measure would allow for a more expedient route to justice for Idahoans and others in the West

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today introduced the Judicial Reorganization Act, S. 1797, to split the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in order to allow for more efficient caseload processing.  Fellow Idaho U.S. Senator Jim Risch is an original co-sponsor. 

“Established in 1890, the Ninth Circuit covers a massive portion of the West, which has experienced explosive growth across several states, including Idaho,” said Senator Crapo.  “This unbridled growth has created significant caseloads for the Court to consider.  The sheer size of the Court creates an astonishingly lengthy journey for those seeking justice.  Splitting the Ninth Circuit would allow a more expedient route to justice for individuals in the West.” 

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the largest in the nation with over nine states and two territorial courts, covers 40 percent of the nation’s land mass and 20 percent of its population.  It decides an extensive number of appeals annually, and accounts for nearly a third of all pending federal appeals.  It takes an average of 13 months to decide a case, which is almost five months more than the national average. 

Idaho is currently part of the Ninth Circuit and its judges have influence over Western issues that affect Idahoans.  The Judicial Reorganization Act would split the Ninth Circuit in two, establishing a new Twelfth Circuit Court of Appeals.  The Ninth Circuit would include California, Guam and Hawaii, while the new Twelfth Circuit would consist of Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.  S. 1797 would also authorize an additional five circuit court judge seats, allocating 21 to the new Ninth and 13 to the Twelfth to align with population size. 

Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Martha McSally (R-Arizona), Steve Daines (R-Montana), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) are co-sponsors of S. 1797.  The bill will go to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration.  Representative Mike Simpson (R-Idaho-2) has introduced similar legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Text of the bill can be found here