Included at the link is a link to 59 pages of Senior United States Circuit Judge O’Scannlain’s testimony regarding the Ninth Circuit.
I have long advocated for a split of the 9th Circuit. It is not unprecedented in any way. The old 8th Circuit was divided into the modern 8th Circuit and modern 10th Circuit in the 1920’s. The old 5th Circuit was divided into the modern 5th Circuit and modern 11th Circuit in 1981. In both cases, the original circuits had become unwieldy.
Frankly, only political concerns stand in the way of something that should be done for a purely logical, non-political reason.
I would create three circuits from the current 9th Circuit.
The new 9th Circuit, which would include only the State of California and its 4 Judicial Districts (Northern, Southern, Eastern and Central).
The new 12th Circuit, which would include the States of Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington, plus Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.
The new 13th Circuit, which would include the States of Arizona, Idaho, Montana and Nevada.
The current 9th Circuit has 29 judgeships, I propose to add a total of 5 judgeships during the split, for a grand total of 34.
The new 9th Circuit would have 20 total judgeships, including 16 that are currently stationed in California, plus 4 new judgeships.
The new 12th Circuit would have 6 total judgeships, including 1 currently stationed in Alaska, 1 currently stationed in Hawaii, 2 currently stationed in Oregon and 2 currently stationed in Washington.
The new 13th Circuit would have 8 total judgeships, including 3 currently stationed in Arizona, 1 currently stationed in Idaho, 1 new judgeship to be created in Idaho, 1 currently stationed in Montana and 2 currently stationed in Nevada.
Current active status judges would be assigned to the circuit corresponding to the State in which they are stationed. Senior status judges could elect their circuit assignment.
California should be its own circuit. It hosts 4 District Courts and the Central District of California is second only to the Southern District of New York in number of cases. While the new 9th would still be the largest circuit in the land, it would now be geographically compact and would be capable of holding true en banc proceedings when needed, rather than the limited en banc panels currently used.
The new 12th & 13th Circuits would both be geographically expansive, but would be among the smallest in number of judges and caseloads, thus they could operate efficiently.