Why, then, is Mr. Obama pushing for more judges on the D.C. Circuit? The answer is pretty clear. The D.C. Circuit has ruled against the president’s agenda in several high-profile cases in recent years. Most notably, the court invalidated a rule applying the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, overruled a burdensome Environmental Protection Agency rule regulating cross-state power-plant emissions, and ruled Mr. Obama’s sham “recess” appointments to the National Labor Relations Board were unconstitutional. It’s no surprise that Mr. Obama is trying to improve his chances before the court by packing it with judges whom he thinks — rightly or wrongly — will rubber-stamp his policies.
As if that is not bad enough President Obama is ignoring his duty to other circuits who unlike the DC Circuit have judicial emergencies (about half of which do not have a judge nominated to fill the slot) that could use additional judges. The lack of need for additional judges on the DC Circuit has long been noted by Republicans and Democrats. Von Spakovsky and Slattery note:
In fact, there is such a lack of need for more judges in the D.C. Circuit that in 2006, eight Democratic senators, led by Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont and Charles E. Schumer of New York, sent a letter to then-Sen. Arlen Specter, who at the time was Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, asking for a postponement of the confirmation hearing for one of President Bush’s nominees to that court (who was never confirmed) because the court’s low workload “did not warrant” more judges. They pointed out that, since 1997, “by every relevant benchmark, the caseload for that circuit has only dropped further.” Since then, the D.C. Circuit’s workload has dropped even more.
Court packing was not appropriate during the desperate times of the Great Desperation and it is certainly not appropriate now. For more details and statistics go here. Shame on President Obama for ignoring his duty to other circuits in order to nominate judges to the DC Circuit in an effort to promote his illegal agenda.