This article on CNN came out back at the end of May, and I thought to myself how the 9th Circuit always came up in articles and how being (Canadian) unfamiliar with the American justice system, I didn’t know what that was. To me, the 9th Circuit was like a very high level of the courts, like near the importance of the Supreme Court.
After doing some research, a circuit is an intermediate/appellate court that sets legal precedents for a large geographical area of the US. They are considered the most powerful and influential courts in the US because less than 2% of decisions are reviewed by the Supreme Court, meaning usually the decision is the last say.
The 9th Circuit always keep coming up in the news because they cover 20% of the American population, specifically the West Coast.
Some interesting tidbits on the Circuit/Courts of Appeals:
– judges are nominated by the President and confirmed by the US Senate
– judges have a lifetime tenure (giving them the ability to abide by the law and not be influenced by having to keep their job)
– there are 13 US court of appeals, the 12th is the DC Circuit (considered the most important appellate court due to affecting national US policy and law), and the 13th is the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (known for decisions on patent law)