With the confirmation of Kenneth Kiyul Lee to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday, President Trump is on track to flip the notoriously liberal court to Republican by 2020.
According to National Review’s Ed Whelan, Lee will be filling a seat that was held for decades by “arch-activist Stephen Reinhardt.”
And there’s nothing but good news for Republicans on the horizon, Whelan says:
Up soon for a floor vote—next week, I hope—should be Ninth Circuit nominee Daniel P. Collins. [Update (3 p.m.): Cloture has been filed on the Collins nomination, so it should be voted on next week.] Collins would fill the seat long held by Harry Pregerson, the Ninth Circuit judge with the strongest claim to rival Reinhardt in lawless willfulness.
The appointments of Lee and Collins would give the Ninth Circuit 11 Republican appointees versus 16 Democratic appointees, with two remaining vacancies. At the start of the Trump administration, the Ninth Circuit had 19 Democratic appointees, only 6 Republican appointees, and four vacancies.
According to Whelan, “eight of the 16 Democratic appointees are eligible to take senior status, and a ninth soon will be, but there is no particular reason to expect any of them to elect that option.”
This is incredible:
—Start of Trump’s term: 19D 6R
—Next Week: 16D 11R
—Soon: 16D 13R
—By 2020: Probably flipped R https://t.co/qQVUskh7kX
— Undercover Huber (@JohnWHuber) May 16, 2019
The liberal court has a reputation for having its decisions reversed by the Supreme Court.
As Fox News reported last month, the Ninth Circuit has been the court of choice for left-wing groups bringing cases against the Trump administration.
A top appellate litigator in California and chairman of the California Appellate Law Group told Fox News that lefty groups are “unlikely to look to other circuits now that the 9th Circuit is turning more conservative.”
“Aside from the 9th Circuit, only the Second and Eleventh Circuits currently have a majority of Democratic appointees (the Tenth is tied),” Ben Feuer said. “The Second Circuit is +5 Democratic by my count and the Eleventh is +2 Democratic. Those aren’t very significant differentials — certainly not on par with the Ninth Circuit of yore.”
Feuer added: “Now, if the trend continues, that could certainly change, but I don’t know that filing suit with left-leaning outcome goals in New York or Miami is very likely to get a much different result than in San Francisco, Los Angeles, or Seattle. Also, many of the more progressive state statutes being enacted are coming from the experimental West Coast cities and states, so those have to be litigated in the Ninth Circuit anyway.”
Sounds like a lot of lefty groups are going to have to brace for some bitter disappointments in the very near future.