D.C. Circuit

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The D.C. Circuit is the United States Court of Appeals for the geographic circuit consisting of Washington, D.C.[1] It should not be confused with other courts called "Court of Appeals" in Washington, D.C., such as the Federal Circuit and the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

As of 2024, the D.C. Circuit is 7-4 Democrat-appointee controlled among active judges, which renders it impossible to obtain from this court a significant conservative ruling that will not then be overruled by a liberal en banc sitting.

The D.C. Circuit is notable for handling many political-type matters involving the federal government, and as the court from which roughly half of the Supreme Court Justices first join the federal judiciary. No senators represent D.C. and thus it is easier to confirm more ideological nominees there, such as the future U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Ketanji Brown Jackson. Multiple Republican appointees to the Supreme Court have also come from this D.C. Circuit, including Robert Bork (blocked from confirmation by liberal senators), Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, and Brett Kavanaugh.

Trump case

Under longstanding court rules, a decision by this (and all other U.S. Courts of Appeals) is not final until a petition for rehearing en banc, if filed, is decided. In the appeal by Donald Trump on the issue of his immunity, the Dem-majority panel violated that rule by ordering that its decision against him would become final almost immediately unless the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the proceeding pending an appeal there.


  1. D.C. Circuit Web site