Senators clash over proposal to split green-friendly 9th Circuit Court

For years, Republicans have loathed the San Francisco-based U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the nation’s largest federal appeals court and most left-leaning. Its long record of upholding environmental laws is but one of its sins in the eyes of conservatives. Now, for the umpteenth time, they’re trying to split it up. Not for political reasons, though! No, no, it’s just a consuming preoccupation with sensible, effective governance; Republicans say the court’s gotten too big to produce quality rulings. Some Democrats, led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), accuse Republican lawmakers of deliberately starving the 9th of judges in order to make it less effective; they say the GOP’s plan would create more problems than it solves and is little more than an attempt to legislate away unfavorable rulings. The overwhelming majority of the judges on the 9th oppose the split, as do 60 other federal judges who last week sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee expressing their views.