President Donald Trump again criticized the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals this week, the court that will hear any appeal of a Hawaii judge’s recent decision to halt the administration’s revised travel ban.
In a campaign-style rally on Wednesday night, Trump referred to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals as being “much overturned” and complained that his new travel ban was blocked even though it was written to address the 9th Circuit’s complaints.
Trump said in his Nashville speech that the judge who blocked his travel ban, Derrick Watson, is part of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. That is actually not the case; although the 9th Circuit has jurisdiction over Hawaii, Derrick Watson is a part of the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii.
Still, if the Trump administration is to appeal Watson’s decision, they will have to return to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the court that decided last month not to reinstitute the travel ban. So who are the judges who make up this 9th Circuit, and where do they all fall politically?
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is the largest appellate court in the United States. It is so large, in fact, that Republican Senator Jeff Flake recently introduced a bill, the Judicial Administration and Improvement Act of 2017, which has the express purpose of breaking the court into two. Congress has been attempting to break up the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals since the 1990s.
A total of 29 judges make up the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, although four of those seats are currently vacant. Of the 25 currently-active judges, there are 10 Clinton appointees, six George W. Bush appointees, seven Barack Obama appointees, one Ronald Reagan appointee, and one Jimmy Carter appointee.
On Wednesday, five judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, all George W. Bush appointees, voiced support for President Donald Trump’s travel ban, saying that the president has the authority to suspend immigration as Trump did. Those judges were Alex Kozinski, Jay Bybee, Consuelo Callahan, Carlos Bea and Sandra Ikuta.
Here’s a look at the judges who are currently active on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals:
- Sidney Runyan Thomas – A Bill Clinton appointee who assumed office in 1996. In 2014, he became the chief judge of the Ninth Circuit. Thomas was one of President Barack Obama’s possible choices to replace John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court, but Obama ended up picking Elena Kagan instead.
- Stephen Reinhardt – A Jimmy Carter appointee who assumed office in 1980. Reinhardt is known for being extremely liberal. “I was a liberal from a very young age,” he told California Lawyer. “I think I was born that way.” His decisions are reversed by the Supreme Court at a higher rate than most other judges.
- Alex Kozinski – A Ronald Reagan appointee who assumed office in 1985. In 1993, he reached a notable decision in an intellectual property case in which Wheel of Fortune‘s Vana White sued Samsung for parodying her likeness in a TV ad. Kozinski said, “Overprotecting intellectual property is as harmful as underprotecting it. Creativity is impossible without a rich public domain.” In another case, in which Mattel sued MCA Records over the song “Barbie Girl,” Kozinski wrote, “The parties are advised to chill.”
- Susan P. Graber – A Bill Clinton appointee who assumed office in 1998. In 2013, she ruled that a California law prohibiting mental health professionals from engaging in gay conversion therapy is constitutional, writing, “Without a doubt, protecting the well-being of minors is a legitimate state interest,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
- M. Margaret McKeown – A Bill Clinton appointee who assumed office in 1998. One notable decision of hers came in 2007 when she said the display of a cross at a nature reserve was unconstitutional because it was akin to the federal government endorsing a religion. This decision was reversed by the Supreme Court.
- Kim McLane Wardlaw – A Bill Clinton appointee who assumed office in 1998. Before serving on the 9th Circuit, Wardlaw volunteered for Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign, and she was also a delegate at the Democratic National Convention in 1992.
- William A. Fletcher – A Bill Clinton appointee who assumed office in 1998. He authored the decision of Demers v. Austin, which said that academic faculty members are protected by the First Amendment; the plaintiff in that case was a professor who was criticizing his school’s administration and who was punished for doing so.
- Ronald M. Gould – A Bill Clinton appointee who assumed office in 1999. In 2002, he removed an injunction against a rule prohibiting the building of new roads in underdeveloped areas of national forests, according to The Recorder. He has been described as a moderate.
- Richard A. Paez – A Bill Clinton appointee who assumed office in 2000. When Clinton nominated Paez, Jeff Sessions, who is now the U.S. attorney general but was then a senator, lead a campaign against him. Sessions took issue with Paez having accepted a plea agreement allowing John Huang, a central figure in the 1996 campaign finance controversy, to avoid going to jail, according to The New York Times.
- Marsha S. Berzon – A Bill Clinton appointee who assumed office in 2000. In 2009, she ruled that a San Francisco resolution which condemned the Vatican for its position on same-sex marriage was constitutional, saying that it would be a difference case if the resolution condemned the Vatican for its teaching on something like transubstantiation.
- Richard C. Tallman – A Bill Clinton appointee who assumed office in 2000. However, Tallman himself is a Republican. He is also a judge on the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, a court which reviews denials of FISA warrants.
- Johnnie B. Rawlinson – A Bill Clinton appointee who assumed office in 2000. She is the first African-American woman to serve on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. In 2014, she ruled in favor of keeping protections intact for the delta smelt, an endangered species of fish.
- Jay Bybee – A George W. Bush appointee who assumed office in 2001. He previously served as assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel, and he authored the 2002 torture memos which said that enhanced interrogation techniques like waterboarding are legal.
- Consuelo María Callahan – A George W. Bush appointee who assumed office in 2003. She was floated as a possible Supreme Court nominee to replace Sandra Day O’Connor in 2005, but Bush ultimately selected Samuel Alito.
- Carlos T. Bea – A George W. Bush appointee who assumed office in 2003. He is from Spain and was almost deported for allegedly dodging the draft during the Korean War, but a judge ruled in his favor. He later became a nationalized citizen. Above the Law refers to him as “refreshingly conservative, on a famously (or infamously) liberal court.”
- Milan D. Smith, Jr. – A George W. Bush appointee who assumed office in 2006. He has authored the most opinions of any judge on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. In United States v. Henry, he upheld the conviction of a man who had made a homemade machine gun, saying that this is not protected by the Second Amendment because machine guns are “dangerous and unusual weapons” that law abiding citizens don’t usually have.
- Sandra Segal Ikuta – A George W. Bush appointee who assumed office in 2006. She wrote the opinion in United States v. Baldrich, a case involving a man who plead guilty to six counts of robbery and who argued that the court violated his right to due process because it did not disclose a probation officer’s confidential sentencing recommendation, according to Ninth Circuit Blog. The court ruled against the defendant.
- N. Randy Smith – A George W. Bush appointee who assumed office in 2007. He wrote the dissent in Perry v. Brown, the case in which the 9th Circuit found that California’s same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional.
- Mary H. Murguia – A Barack Obama appointee who assumed office in 2011. In 2011, she acquitted Elton Simpson, who had allegedly lied to the FBI about intending to travel to Somalia to commit acts of terror. She felt that there was not enough evidence of Simpson’s intentions. He later attacked an art exhibit featuring cartoon images of Mohammad in Texas.
- Morgan Christen – A Barack Obama appointee who assumed office in 2012. She previously served as a Planned Parenthood board member in the 1990s, and her nomination was opposed by some pro-choice advocacy groups. However, she was confirmed by the Senate in a 95 to 3 vote.
- Jacqueline Nguyen – A Barack Obama appointee who assumed office in 2012. She is the first Asian-American woman to serve as a federal appellate judge. She was floated as a possible pick to replace Antonin Scalia, but Barack Obama ended up nominating Merrick Garland.
- Paul J. Watford – A Barack Obama appointee who assumed office in 2012. He authored the opinion in City of Los Angeles v. Patel, a case in which the court ruled against a city ordinance in which police could conduct unannounced investigations of hotel registries without a warrant. He was also floated as a possible Supreme Court nominee of Barack Obama’s in 2012.
- Andrew D. Hurwitz – A Barack Obama appointee who assumed office in 2012. In Citizen Publishing Co. v. Miller ex rel Elleithee, he ruled that a newspaper that ran an ad calling for the murder of Muslims was protected by the First Amendment.
- John B. Owens – A Barack Obama appointee who assumed office in 2014. He earned some attention in 2016 for referencing the HBO series Game of Thrones during a decision. In the case of Flores v. City of San Gabriel, he wrote that the court’s interpretation of a part of the Fair Labor Standards Act was “very close to a qyburnian resurrection of [a rejected case law] standard,” according to Above the Law.
- Michelle Friedland – A Barack Obama appointee who assumed office in 2014. She was one of three judges who in February 2017 rejected the Trump administration’s request to lift the restraining order against the first travel ban.
In addition, there are 19 Ninth Circuit judges who have senior status: Alfred Theodore Goodwin, J. Clifford Wallace, Procter Ralph Hug, Jr., Mary M. Schroeder, Joseph Jerome Farris, Harry Pregerson, Dorothy Wright Nelson, William Cameron Canby, Jr., John T. Noonan, Jr., Diarmuid Fionntain O’Scannlain, Edward Leavy, Stephen S. Trott, Ferdinand Francis Fernandez, Andrew Jay Kleinfeld, Michael Daly Hawkins, A. Wallace Tashima, Barry G. Silverman, Raymond C. Fisher, and Richard R. Clifton.