Senator Chuck Grassley, Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, made the following comment after news reports indicated that President Obama intends to nominate three people for the D.C. Circuit.
“News reports have claimed over and over that the White House wants to put more of their own judges on the D.C. Circuit because President Obama is looking for ways to circumvent Congress. My Democratic colleagues have made their intentions clear when they said the President needed to fill the court by whatever means necessary and that the D.C. Circuit was ‘wreaking havoc’ on the country by opposing their policies. Those who advocate for this type of court-packing to obtain an advantage in public policy debates, misunderstand the purpose of the legislative and judicial branches of our federal government. It’s our job to make legislative decisions and the courts’ job is to resolve cases and controversies. The last thing members of Congress should want is the courts doing our job.
“It’s hard to imagine the rationale for nominating three judges at once for this court given the many vacant emergency seats across the country, unless your goal is to pack the court to advance a certain policy agenda. No matter how you slice it, the D.C. Circuit ranks last or almost last in nearly every category that measures workload. There were nearly 200 fewer appeals filed in the D.C. Circuit in 2012 than in 2005. In fact, the amount of cases that each active judge handles is nearly the same, despite having two fewer judges, in that same time frame. It’s hard to imagine any reason for three more judges, no matter who nominates them.”