Ninth Circuit

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The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is the largest and most liberal federal appellate court in the United States, having jurisdiction over many Western states stretching from Arizona in the south to Alaska and Montana in the north, and including the massive states of California and Washington in between. It covers nearly one-fifth of the American population. Twenty-eight active judges and another 20 part-time senior judges sit on the Ninth Circuit, by far the largest number of any federal circuit.

The Ninth Circuit is overruled by the U.S. Supreme Court far more than any other circuit, and far beyond proportion even given its larger size:[1]

The Supreme Court reviewed 22 cases from the 9th Circuit last term, and it reversed or vacated 19 times. By comparison, the Supreme Court reviewed only five cases, vacating or reversing four, from the next-busiest court of appeals, the 5th Circuit based in New Orleans.
In other words, although the 9th Circuit decided only one-third more appeals on the merits than the 5th Circuit, it was reversed nearly five times more often. ... Of the 19 9th Circuit cases reversed by the Supreme Court last term, eight of them were unanimous .... All the other 12 circuit courts combined were unanimously reversed only nine times.

The 9th Circuit decides more than 6,000 cases annually. It heard 22 cases en banc in 2006.

Rush Limbaugh has referred to the Ninth Circuit as the "Ninth Circus" based on its extremely liberal decisions that are frequently reversed.


  1. Disorder in the Court, LA Times, 11 July 2007. Accessed 29 Nov 2007.