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Mere days after President Trump signed a controversial executive order temporarily banning U.S. entry for immigrants or refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries, it was struck down by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. This put national focus on that court, which encompasses both some of the most progressive and conservative states, yet generally issues liberal decisions — making it despised many Republicans.
A new bill in Congress could make it less likely for that court to issue decisions like striking down the Trump executive order.
(Rather than appeal to the Supreme Court as he originally promised, Trump plans to issue a revised executive order that his administration believes is more likely to withstand judicial scrutiny.)
Why many Republicans hate the 9th Circuit Court
Below the Supreme Court on the judicial hierarchy, there are 13 “circuit courts,” which decide cases of federal law in different geographical areas of the country. The Supreme Court takes up cases where two or more lower courts disagree, as well as other cases that raise consequential or novel constitutional issues.
The 9th Circuit Court covers the west coast and covers more than 20 percent of the U.S. population. It encompasses left-leaning states like California, Hawaii, and Oregon, and Washington, but also right-leaning states like Arizona, Alaska, Idaho, and Montana. But its judges clearly lean left: of the 44 judges serving on the court, 28 were appointed by Democratic presidents, and only 16 by Republicans.