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Flake, Salmon Introduce Bill to Establish New Circuit Court
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03 February 2016   Elizabeth Berry
Bicameral legislation would move AZ, NV, MT, ID, and AK out of overburdened 9th Circuit

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) today introduced the bicameral Judicial Administration and Improvement Act, a bill to move Arizona, Nevada, Montana, Idaho, and Alaska out of the oversized and overworked 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and into a newly-established 12th Circuit. Currently, the 9th Circuit covers 20 percent of the United States population, containing 13 district courts over nine states, as well as jurisdiction over the territorial courts of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. Each year the circuit hears over 12,000 appeals, making it four months slower than the average circuit court. In addition, Arizona has the busiest federal docket in the circuit, per capita.

“Swift access to the courts is one of the main tenets of the justice system, but an oversized and overworked 9thCircuit has Arizonans waiting too long for justice,” said Flake. “Establishing an additional circuit would lessen that burden across the West and ensure that the people of Arizona finally get the swift access to the courts that they are entitled to.”

“Justice delayed is justice denied and the current 9th Circuit does not properly serve the people of the nation’s fastest growing region with a court that is too large, too inconsistent, too slow, and too overworked,” said Salmon. “I look forward to working with officials to produce a viable and responsible long-term plan to improve how our judiciary serves constituents throughout Arizona and the Mountain West.”

Background: On Jan. 28, Flake and Salmon teamed with Gov. Doug Ducey (R-Ariz.) to continue former U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl’s multi-year push to move Arizona from the 9th Circuit into a smaller, more efficient court. For more information on Ducey’s efforts, his press release can be viewed here.