Congress abandons effort to split Ninth Circuit

[JURIST] Members of the US House and Senate have abandoned plans to split the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website], dropping the proposal from the budget reconciliation bill. House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner had introduced legislation [HR 4093 text], which was included in the house version of the deficit-cutting bill, that would have created a Ninth Circuit that would cover California, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands, and a new 12th Circuit covering Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Nevada and Arizona. A similar circuit-splitting proposal [S. 1301 bill summary] was considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee but was not included in the Senate budge bill and Republican leaders ultimately decided to drop the proposal during a conference committee. California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, called the decision a victory [press release], saying "The plan to split the 9th Circuit was a politically driven attempt to intrude on the constitutionally mandated independence of the federal judiciary." Tuesday's San Francisco Chronicle has more.

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