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Jurist Deaths Add To Court Backlog

Publication Date: 
October 15, 2011
Los Angeles Times
Carol C. Williams

Professor Michael McConnell was called on by the Los Angeles Times to comment on the loss of five judges from the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and the challenges President Obama will face in making the replacements before the 2012 election. Carol C. Williams filed the following report:

Five judges from the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals have died this year, worsening an already critical case backlog and spotlighting President Obama's inability to put his judicial choices and stamp on the powerful court.

The deaths of four semi-retired senior jurists and full-time Circuit Judge Pamela Ann Rymer have intensified concerns on the aging bench and among judicial scholars that the 9th Circuit will fall farther behind in what is already the slowest pace of dispensing justice in the federal courts.


Even if Obama acts quickly to nominate three more 9th Circuit judges, the impending 2012 campaign could thwart Senate approval of those choices, said Michael McConnell, a Stanford law professor and former judge on the 10th Circuit.