United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, sometimes referred to simply as the Ninth Circuit, is one of the thirteen federal appellate courts. The court was established in 1891 and currently has a total of twenty-nine seats. The court is located at the James R. Browning Federal Courthouse in San Francisco, CA.
Vacancy warning level
Currently the vacancy warning level for the Ninth Circuit is set at yellow. The court currently has three vacancies out of their twenty nine total seats, constituting 9% of the total seats. However, there are two pending nomination awaiting action by the Senate.
It also has appellate jurisdiction over the following territorial courts:
- United States District Court for the District of Guam
- United States District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands
Headquartered in San Francisco, the Ninth Circuit is by far the largest of the thirteen courts of appeals, with 28 active judgeships. (As of January 21, 2009, under the provisions of the Court Security Improvement Act of 2007, the Circuit will get a 29th seat). The court's regular meeting places are Seattle, Washington, Portland, Oregon, San Francisco, and Pasadena, California, but panels of the court occasionally travel to hear cases in other locations within its territorial jurisdiction. Although the judges travel around the circuit, the court arranges its hearings so that cases from the northern region of the circuit are heard in Seattle or Portland, cases from southern California are heard in Pasadena, and cases from northern California, Nevada, Arizona, and Hawaii are heard in San Francisco. For lawyers who must come and present their cases to the court in person, this administrative grouping of cases helps to reduce the time and cost of travel.
The Ninth Circuit has appellate jurisdiction over cases heard in one of its subsidiary districts. These cases can include civil and criminal matters that fall under federal law.
|Federal Court Case Load Statistics*|
|Year||Starting case load:||Cases filed:||Total cases:||Cases terminated:||Remaining cases||Terminations on merits:||Terminations on Procedure||Cross Appeals:||Total Terminations:||Written decisions per Judge**|
|*All statistics are taken from the Official Federal Courts' Website (for District Courts) and reflect the calendar year through September. **This statistic reflects only judges that are active for the entire 12 month period.|
The official Clerk of Court is Molly C. Dwyer. The main clerk's office is located in San Francisco CA, with subsidiary offices in other locations.
THE JAMES R. BROWNING COURTHOUSE
95 7TH STREET
SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94103
Phone: (415) 355-8000
Hours: 8:30AM - 5:00PM
THE RICHARD H. CHAMBERS COURTHOUSE
125 SOUTH GRAND AVENUE
PASADENA, CA 91105
Phone: (626) 229-7250
Hours: 8:30AM - 5:00PM
THE PIONEER COURTHOUSE
700 SW 6TH AVE, STE 110
PORTLAND, OR 97204
Phone: (503) 833-5311
Hours: 8:30AM - 5:00PM
WILLIAM K. NAKAMURA COURTHOUSE
1010 Fifth Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone: (206) 224-2200
Hours: 8:30AM - 4:30PM
Court historyThis federal judiciary article needs to be expanded.
Appointments by Democratic Presidents
According to Federal judicial appointment history, the Ninth Circuit has the highest percentage of active judges appointed by Democrat presidents, with 59%. Until 2003, this percentage was much higher; a political stalemate over judicial nominations subsequently kept several vacancies on the court for several years.
|Year||Jurisdiction||Total population||Pop. as % of nat'l pop.||Number of active judgeships|
|1891||CA, ID, MT, NV, OR, WA||2,087,000||3.3%||2|
|1900||CA, HI, ID, MT, NV, OR, WA||2,798,000||3.7%||3|
|1920||AZ, CA, HI, ID, MT, NV, OR, WA||7,415,000||6.7%||3|
|1940||AZ, CA, HI, ID, MT, NV, OR, WA||11,881,000||9.0%||7|
|1960||AK, AZ, CA, GU, HI, ID, MT, NV, OR, WA||22,607,000||12.6%||9|
|1980||AK, AZ, CA, GU, HI, ID, MT, NV, OR, WA||37,170,000||16.4%||23|
|2000||AK, AZ, CA, GU, HI, ID, MT, NV, OR, WA||54,575,000||19.3%||28|
The large size of the current court is due to the fact that both the population of the western states and the geographic jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit have increased dramatically since Congress created the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 1891. The court was originally granted appellate jurisdiction over federal district courts in California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. As new states and territories were added to the federal judicial hierarchy in the twentieth century, many of those in the West came under control of the Ninth Circuit: the newly acquired territory of Hawaii in 1900, Arizona upon its accession to statehood in 1912, the then-territory of Alaska in 1948, Guam in 1951, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) in 1977.
The cultural and political jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit is just as varied as the land within its geographical borders. In a dissenting opinion in a rights of publicity case involving Wheel of Fortune star Vanna White, Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski sardonically noted that “[f]or better or worse, we are the Court of Appeals for the Hollywood Circuit.” Judges from more remote parts of the circuit note the contrast between legal issues confronted by populous states such as California and those confronted by rural states such as Alaska, Idaho, and Montana. Judge Andrew J. Kleinfeld, who maintains his chambers in Fairbanks, Alaska, wrote in a 1998 letter: “Much federal law is not national in scope…. It is easy to make a mistake construing these laws when unfamiliar with them, as we often are, or not interpreting them regularly, as we never do.”
Criticisms of the Ninth Circuit's Size
Many scholars and jurists, like Judge Kleinfeld, cite regional differences between states in the circuit, as well as the practical, procedural, and substantive difficulties in administering a court of this size, as reasons why Congress should split the Ninth Circuit into two or more smaller circuit courts. Opponents of such a move claim that the court is functioning smoothly from an administrative standpoint, and that the real problem is not that the circuit is too large, but that Congress has not created enough judgeships to handle the court's workload. Opponents also point out that over half of the Ninth Circuit's cases come from the state of California, and thus dividing the Circuit would result in whichever portion included California being dominated by cases from a single state. Moreover, many who advocate the preservation of the current Ninth Circuit see politics as a motivating factor in the split movement. They claim that by implementing a scheme that isolates California from the other states in the circuit, the effect of a split will be to dilute the power of judges who have handed down rulings that have angered social conservatives.
Another criticism of the Ninth Circuit's size is the Ninth Circuit's unique rules concerning the composition of an en banc court. In other circuits, en banc courts are composed of all active circuit judges, plus (depending on the rules of the particular court) any senior judges who took part in the original panel decision. By contrast, in the Ninth Circuit it is impractical for twenty-eight or more judges to take part in a single oral argument and deliberate on a decision en masse. The court thus provides for a “limited en banc” review of a randomly-selected 15 judge panel. This means that en banc reviews may not actually reflect the views of the majority of the court, and indeed may not include any of the three judges involved in the decision being reviewed in the first place. The result, according to detractors, is a high risk of intracircuit conflicts of law where different groupings of judges end up delivering contradictory opinions. This is said to cause uncertainty in the district courts and within the bar. Supporters of the existing court, however, point out that en banc review is a relatively rare occurrence and that court rules provide for full en banc review in limited circumstances. Supporters also point out that all currently proposed splits would leave at least one circuit with 21 judges, only two fewer than the 23 that the Ninth Circuit had when the limited en banc procedure was first adopted; in other words, after a split at least one of the circuits would still be utilizing limited en banc courts.
In March 2007, Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and Clarence Thomas testified before a House Appropriations subcommittee that the consensus among the justices of the Supreme Court of the United States was that the Ninth Circuit was too large and unwieldy and should be split.
Proposals to split the Ninth Circuit
The following are the most prominent of the several existing or former proposals that have been considered by congressional leaders, legislative commissions, and interest groups.
- Commission on Structural Alternatives for the Federal Courts of Appeals, Final Report, Dec. 18, 1998
- The Commission found that splitting the Ninth Circuit would be “impractical and … unnecessary.” However, it recommended that the circuit be divided into three “adjudicative divisions” each of which would hear appeals from specific regions. A fourth at-large “circuit division” would be invoked solely to resolve conflicts of law arising within a particular division. This proposal would also abolish circuit-wide en banc or limited en banc circuit panels, instead creating en banc panels from each of the three regions as necessary.
- Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals of Reorganization Act of 2003, S. 562
- This proposal would split the Ninth Circuit into two, with California and Nevada being retained by the new Ninth Circuit and the remaining Ninth Circuit jurisdictions being assigned to a new Twelfth Circuit. The bill would create ten new judgeships, with 25 being retained by the Ninth Circuit and 13 being assigned to the Twelfth Circuit. Each current Ninth Circuit judge would be assigned to a new circuit based on the location of his or her duty station. This proposal was co-sponsored by seven Republican Senators from Alaska, Montana, Idaho, Oklahoma, and Oregon. After a hearing by the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts on April 7, 2004, no vote was held.
- Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judgeship and Reorganization Act of 2003, H.R. 2723
- This proposal would split the Ninth Circuit into two, with Arizona, California and Nevada being retained by the new Ninth Circuit and the remaining Ninth Circuit jurisdictions being assigned to a new Twelfth Circuit. The bill would create five permanent and two temporary judgeships, all to be retained by the new Ninth Circuit. The temporary judgeships would terminate upon the existence of a vacancy ten years or more after passage of the act. Each current Ninth Circuit judge would be assigned to a new circuit based on the location of his or her duty station. This proposal was co-sponsored by Republican congressmen from Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. After a hearing by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property on October 21, 2003, no vote was held. This bill was reintroduced in the 109th Congress as H.R. 212, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judgeship and Reorganization Act of 2005. It is pending before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property.
- Ninth Circuit Judgeship and Reorganization Act of 2004, S. 878
- This proposal would create two new circuits, the Twelfth and Thirteenth. The Ninth Circuit would retain California, Hawaii, Guam, and the CNMI. The Twelfth Circuit would contain Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, and Montana. The Thirteenth Circuit would contain Alaska, Oregon, and Washington. The Act would provide that existing judges be assigned to new circuits based on the location of their duty stations, after which the number of active judgeships in the new Ninth Circuit would be increased to nineteen. This bill was reintroduced in the 109th Congress as the Ninth Circuit Judgeship and Reorganization Act of 2005, H.R. 211, co-sponsored by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and the same Republican Congressmen who had sponsored the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judgeship and Reorganization Act of 2003.
- The Circuit Court of Appeals Restructuring and Modernization Act of 2005, S. 1845
- This proposal would split the Ninth Circuit into two, with California, Hawaii, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands being retained by the Ninth Circuit, and the remaining Ninth Circuit jurisdictions being assigned to new Twelfth Circuit. It would create five permanent and two temporary judgeships, all retained by the new Ninth Circuit. The temporary judgeships would terminate upon the existence of a vacancy ten years or more after passage of the act. Each current Ninth Circuit judge would be assigned to a new circuit based on the location of his or her duty station. The proposal was co-sponsored by nine Republican senators from Alaska, Arizona, Montana, Nevada, Idaho, Oklahoma, and Oregon, including the same group of senators that had sponsored S. 562 in the previous Congress. It is pending before the Judiciary Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts, and hearings have been held on it. It would seem to supersede S. 1296, which is similar in the states assigned to each new circuit and the number of judgeships in each new circuit; every sponsor of S. 1296 also sponsors S. 1845.
For a full search-able list of Ninth Circuit opinions, please see:Search-able database of Ninth Circuit.
| • Proposition 8 appeal Judge(s):Michael Hawkins, Stephen Reinhardt and Randy Smith|
*Perry v. Brown Appeal No. 11-16577
|On December 8, 2011, the court heard arguments from Proposition 8 supporters asking for Northern District Chief Judge James Ware's decision against them and vacate former Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling on the proposition's constitutionality. Proposition supporters are arguing that Judge Walker was biased against them at trial because he was involved in a same-sex relationship at the time. The panel hearing the appeal consists of Judges Michael Hawkins, Stephen Reinhardt and Randy Smith.
For the full story, see Proposition 8 supporters ask appeals court to overturn ruling.
In effect, the court concluded that, because domestic partnerships had already established equal rights for same-sex couples, the measure only served to deny these relationships the designation of "marriage." This, according to the court, was not a legitimate purpose for treating these couples differently under the law. The panel rendered split in its decision with Judge Randy Smith concurring in part and dissenting in part. The panel upheld both the decisions of Chief Judge Ware as well as Senior Judge Walker, whose original decision has been challenged on the grounds that Walker had an undisclosed long term relationship with another man at the time of the case. The ruling clears the way for the Supreme Court to weigh in on the subject next year. For expansive coverage of the ballot measure and ensuing legal controversy, please see: California Proposition 8, the "Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry" Initiative (2008).
Most overturned court in the United States
Of the 80 cases the Supreme Court decided this past term through opinions, 56 cases arose from the federal appellate courts, three from the federal district courts, and 21 from the state courts. The court reversed or vacated the judgment of the lower court in 59 of these cases. Specifically, the justices overturned 40 of the 56 judgments arising from the federal appellate courts (or 71%), two of the three judgments coming from the federal district courts (or 67%), and 17 of the 21 judgments issued by state courts (or 81%).
Notably, the 9th Circuit accounted for both 30 percent of the cases (24 of 80) and 30 percent of the reversals (18 of 59) the Supreme Court decided by full written opinions this term. In addition, the 9th Circuit was responsible for more than a third (35%, or 8 of 23) of the High Court’s unanimous reversals that were issued by published opinions. Thus, on the whole, the 9th Circuit’s rulings accounted for more reversals this past term than all the state courts across the country combined and represented nearly half of the overturned judgments (45%) of the federal appellate courts.
The 9th Circuit also hears the most cases of any of the circuit courts and thus has the most decisions move on to the Supreme Court.
Newdow v. U.S. Congress
Critics of the Ninth Circuit often point to 2002's Newdow v. U.S. Congress, decision as evisdence of political bias and judicial activism. In the decision, the court declared that a public school district in Elk Grove, California could lead students in recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance (as then constituted); the pledge's inclusion of the words "under God," the court held, violated the Establishment Clause. The case was brought by Michael Newdow, an atheist who felt that the daily recitation of the Pledge in his daughter's school violated her First Amendment right to be free from government establishment of religion. In a 2-1 decision, a Ninth Circuit panel held for Newdow, stating that “[t]he text of the official Pledge, codified in federal law, impermissibly takes a position with respect to the purely religious question of the existence and identity of God.” The majority opinion was written by Alfred Goodwin, who was appointed to the court by Richard M. Nixon, a Republican.
In 2004, the United States Supreme Court reversed the Ninth Circuit's decision. However, the majority opinion did not reach the substantive issue of whether the Pledge violated the Establishment Clause, instead holding that Newdow, who did not have primary custody of his daughter (the child's mother, whom Newdow never married, had custody), did not have standing to litigate the claim in federal court. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Clarence Thomas disagreed with the majority's opinion of Newdow's standing, but concurred in the judgment, making this a unanimous decision reversing the Ninth Circuit. Thomas wrote that the Ninth Circuit's opinion was “a persuasive reading of (Supreme Court) precedent,” but then attacked the precedent, particularly Lee v. Weisman. Rehnquist and O'Connor disagreed with the Ninth Circuit's interpretation of the precedent.
Indeed, while the Ninth Circuit had long been instrumental in striking new legal ground, particularly in the areas of immigration law and prisoner rights, it was the Newdow decision that galvanized criticism against what conservatives saw as “judicial activism.” Reaction to the decision by prominent political leaders, especially those in the House and Senate, was passionate. President George W. Bush, through his spokesman Ari Fleischer, called the ruling “ridiculous,” while Senator Charles Grassley called it “crazy and outrageous.” Even mainstream Democrats attacked the decision, with House minority leader Richard Gephardt calling it “poorly thought out.” Criticisms of the Newdow decision were not limited to the substantive law considered by the judges who heard the case; they also attacked the legitimacy and political independence of the court itself. The result was a renewed focus on the Ninth Circuit's caseload and a targeted effort by congressional Republicans to minimize the impact of such decisions.
Raich v. Ashcroft
Another hotly contested case considered by the Ninth Circuit arose from the enactment of a California law permitting the cultivation and use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. In Raich v. Ashcroft, 352 F.3d 1222 (9th Cir. 2003), rev'd sub nom. Gonzales v. Raich, 545 U.S. 1 (2005), a cancer patient sued the federal government, seeking to prevent it from seizing her supply of medical marijuana under the federal Controlled Substances Act. The United States argued that it had the right to enforce its drug laws against Raich notwithstanding the California statute. Raich argued that since the marijuana was grown within California, had never left the state's borders, and was not part of any economic transaction, Congress had no constitutional authority to regulate her cultivation and use of marijuana. In holding for Raich, the Ninth Circuit adhered to two landmark Supreme Court cases, United States v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549 (1995), and United States v. Morrison, 529 U.S. 598 (2000), which had substantially restricted Congress's authority to regulate “noneconomic” activity under the guise of the Commerce Clause to the United States Constitution. In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court disagreed with this analysis, adhering instead to a 1942 case, Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111 (1942), in which the Court held that cultivation of wheat for personal consumption could be subject to a federal production quota even though the crop never entered the stream of commerce. Interestingly, the three dissenters—voting to uphold the Ninth Circuit—were Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justice Clarence Thomas, considered to be two of the most conservative members of the Court, as well as Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, considered to be the swing vote on the Court at the time. The Raich litigation illustrates that although the result of the Ninth Circuit's decision pleased political liberals opposed to tough federal drug laws, the legal analysis employed by the court was faithful to the principles of federalism and thus wholly “conservative” from a legal perspective.
Kyllo v. United States
On the other hand, not every Supreme Court reversal of a Ninth Circuit decision has come in a case where the appellate judges ruled in favor of a group championed by political liberals. In Kyllo v. United States, ussc|533|27|2001, the Supreme Court reversed a decision of the Ninth Circuit in favor of the government. The Ninth Circuit had ruled that evidence of a marijuana-growing operation obtained without a warrant by means of a thermal imaging device could be introduced at a criminal trial because the Fourth Amendment did not recognize an expectation of privacy in radiation emanating from a private home. The Supreme Court reversed because a person's home is a place where he has always had an expectation of privacy, such that the search at issue required a warrant. 
The Ninth Circuit is located in the James R. Browning Federal Courthouse in San Francisco, CA. The Courthouse was built at the turn of the century and was originally home to the court and the post office. Completed in 1905, the building was designed by the Supervising Architect of the Treasury, James Knox Taylor. The building was damaged in the earthquake of 1906, but was one of only two buildings left standing in that neighborhood of San Francisco and became a symbol of the rebuilding and restoration effort. Repairs were completed in 1910 and the building reopened. It was again damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta Earth-quake that struck San Francisco. This earthquake gave birth to a rebuilding and restoration effort complete with seismic retrofitting and the addition of 45,000 square feet of space costing a total of $91,000,000. The building formally reopened on October 17, 1996. Prior to this, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.
- United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit This website includes links to the court's published and unpublished opinions, court-specific rules of appellate procedure, and general operating procedures.
- Judges of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
- Recent opinions from FindLaw
- Federal Judicial Center
- “The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals: To Split Or Not To Split?” (article in WSJ)
- Disposition of Supreme Court decisions on certiorari or appeal from state and territory supreme courts, and from federal courts of appeals, 1950-2006
- Rulings of the 9th Circuit relevant to ballot initiatives
- Ninth Circuit blog
- ↑ Kleinfeld, Andrew J. (1998-05-22). Memo to the Commission on Structural Alternatives for the Federal Courts of Appeals. URL accessed on June 21, 2005.
- ↑ http://www.fedbar.org/Kozinski_testimony.pdf Statement of Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts
- ↑ http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/wsj_court_united.pdf
- ↑ http://www.fed-soc.org/Publications/Engage/Oct%2005.pdf
- ↑ C-SPAN America and the Courts, (03/17/2007).
- ↑ Testimony of Circuit Judge Richard Tallman: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. United States Senate: Committee on the Judiciary. Retrieved on November 19 2007.
- ↑ Los Angeles Times "Appeals court asked to decide if gay judge could be fair on Prop. 8 case," December 8, 2011
- ↑ LA Times Blog, "Prop. 8: Gay-marriage ban unconstitutional, court rules" 2/7/2012
- ↑ Dallas Voice, "Court won’t release videos from Prop 8 trial", 2/3/2012
- ↑ http://www.centerforindividualfreedom.org/legal/9th_circuit.htm
- ↑ For a persuasive empirical argument that the Ninth Circuit is not liberal leaning and that the high percentage of reversals is accounted for by the fact that the Ninth Circuit hears more cases than any other Circuit and that the Supreme Court grants certiorari mostly for cases that will be reversed, see Jerome Farris,The Ninth Circuit--Most Maligned Circuit in the Country Fact or Fiction? 58 Ohio St. L.J. 1464 (1997)(written by Circuit Judge Farris)
- ↑ GSA James R. Browning Official Page
|2.1 Active Judges|
|2.1.1 Article III judges|
|2.1.2 Pending appointments|
|2.1.3 Senior judges|
|2.2 Past judges|
|2.2.1 Former Chief judges|
|2.2.2 Former judges|
Article III judgesSee: Article III federal judge
The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has 29 posts and 3 vacancies. The current Chief Justice is Alex Kozinski. This is a list of the current judges on the court:
|Chief Judge Alex Kozinski||July 23, 1950||Bucharest, Romania||Reagan||11/7/1985 - Present||2007-Current||UCLA 1972||UCLA School of Law 1975|
|Judge Andrew Hurwitz||1947||New York, NY||6/12/2012-Present||Mary M. Schroeder||Princeton, A.B., 1968||Yale, J.D., 1972|
|Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw||1954||San Francisco, CA||Clinton||8/3/1998 - Present||Clifford Wallace||University of California-Los Angeles 1976||University of California-Los Angeles 1979|
|Judge Mary Murguia||1960||Kansas City, KS||Obama||1/4/2011 - Present||Michael Hawkins||U. of Kansas, 1982||U. of Kansas Law School, 1985|
|Judge Morgan Christen||1961||Chehalis, WA||Obama||1/11/2012 - Present||U. of Washington, 1983||Golden Gate U. Law, 1986|
|Judge Harry Pregerson||1923||Los Angeles, CA||Carter||11/2/1979 - Present||New Seat|92 Stat. 1629||University of California 1947||California Boalt Hall School of Law 1950|
|Judge Stephen Reinhardt||1931||New York, NY||Carter||9/11/1980 - Present||Pomona College 1951||Yale Law School 1954|
|Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain||1937||New York, NY||Reagan||9/26/1986 - Present||Robert Boochever||St. John`s University 1957||Harvard Law School 1963|
|Judge Sidney Thomas||1953||Bozeman, MT||Clinton||1/4/1996 - Present||Dorothy Wright Nelson||Montana State University 1975||University of Montana School of Law 1978|
|Judge Barry Silverman||1951||New York, NY||Clinton||2/4/1998 - Present||William Canby, Jr.||Arizona State University 1973||Arizona State University College of Law 1976|
|Judge Susan Graber||1949||Oklahoma City, OK||Clinton||3/19/1998 - Present||Edward Leavy||Wellesley College 1969||Yale Law School 1972|
|Judge Margaret McKeown||1951||Casper, WY||Clinton||4/8/1998 - Present||Joseph Jerome Farris||University of Wyoming 1972||Georgetown University Law Center 1975|
|Judge William Fletcher||1945||Philadelphia, PA||Clinton||10/9/1998 - Present||William Albert Norris||Harvard University 1968||Yale Law School 1975|
|Judge Ronald Gould||1946||St Louis, MO||Clinton||11/22/1999 - Present||Robert R. Beezer||University of Pennsylvania 1968||University of Michigan Law School 1973|
|Judge Richard Paez||1947||Salt Lake city, UT||Clinton||3/14/2000 - Present||Cecil F. Poole||Brigham Young U. 1969||U. of California Berkeley Law 1972|
|Judge Marsha Berzon||1945||Cincinnati, OH||Clinton||3/16/2000 - Present||John Noonan||Radcliffe College '66||University of California, Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law '73|
|Judge Richard Tallman||1953||Oakland, CA||Clinton||5/25/2000 - Present||Betty Binns Fletcher||University of Santa Clara 1975||Northwestern University School of Law 1978|
|Judge Johnnie Rawlinson||1952||Concord, NC||Clinton||7/26/2000 - Present||Melvin Brunetti||North Carolina A&T State University 1974||University of the Pacific 1979|
|Judge Richard Clifton||1950||Framingham, MA||W. Bush||7/30/2002 - Present||Cynthia Holcomb Hall||Princeton University 1972||Yale Law School 1975|
|Judge Jay Bybee||1953||Oakland, CA||W. Bush||3/21/2003 - Present||Procter Hug, Jr.||Brigham Young University 1977||Brigham Young University 1980|
|Judge Consuelo Maria Callahan||1950||Palo Alto, CA||W. Bush||5/28/2003 - Present||Ferdinand Francis Fernandez||Stanford University 1972||University of the Pacific 1975|
|Judge Carlos Bea||1934||San Sebastian, Spain||W. Bush||10/1/2003 - Present||Charles Edward Wiggins||Stanford U. '56||Stanford Law '58|
|Judge Milan Smith||1942||Pendleton, OR||W. Bush||5/18/2006 - Present||Wallace Tashima||Brigham Young University 1966||University of Chicago Law School 1969|
|Judge Sandra Ikuta||1954||Los Angeles, CA||W. Bush||6/23/2006 - Present||James R. Browning||University of California, Berkeley 1976||UCLA Law School 1988|
|Judge Randy Smith||1949||Logan, UT||W. Bush||3/19/2007 - Present||Thomas G. Nelson||Brigham Young University 1974||J. Reuben Clark School of Law 1977|
|Judge Jacqueline Nguyen||1965||Dalat, Vietnam||Obama||5/7/2012 - Present||New Seat|121 Stat. 2534||Occidental College, A.B., 1987||U. of California, Los Angeles, School of Law, J.D., 1991|
|Judge Paul Watford||1967||Orange County, CA||Obama||5/21/2012 - Present||Pamela Ann Rymer||U. of California, Berkeley, B.A., 1989||U. of California, Los Angeles Law, J.D., 1994|
There are no current pending appointments for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Senior judgesSee: Federal judges on senior status
The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has 19 judges on senior status currently. This is a list of the current senior judges on the court:
|Senior Judge Mary Schroeder||Carter||9/26/1979 - 12/31/2011||2000-2007||12/31/2011-Present||Swarthmore College 1962||University of Chicago Law School 1965|
|Senior judge Andrew Kleinfeld||H.W. Bush||9/16/1991 - 6/12/2010||6/12/2010 - Present||Wesleyan University 1966||Harvard Law School 1969|
|Senior Judge Raymond Fisher||Clinton||10/12/1999 - 4/1/2013||4/1/2013 - Present||University of California, Santa Barbara '61||Stanford Law School '66|
|Senior Judge Alfred Goodwin||Nixon||11/30/1971 - 1/31/1991||1988-1991||1/31/1991 - Present||University of Oregon 1947||University of Oregon Law School 1951|
|Senior Judge John Clifford Wallace||Nixon||6/28/1972 - 4/8/1996||1991-1996||4/8/1996 - Present||San Diego State University 1952||University of California Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law 1955|
|Senior Judge Procter Hug||Carter||9/15/1977 - 1/1/2002||1996-2000||1/1/2002 - Present||University of Nevada, Reno 1953||Stanford Law School 1958|
|Senior Judge Joseph Farris||Carter||9/27/1979 - 3/4/1995||'3/4/1995 - Present||Morehouse College 1941||Atlanta University 1955|
|Senior Judge Arthur Alarcon||Carter||11/2/1979 - 11/21/1992||11/21/1992 - Present||University of Southern California 1949||University of Southern California Law School 1951|
|Senior Judge Dorothy Wright Nelson||Carter||12/20/1979-1/1/1995||1/1/1995-Current||U. of California, Los Angeles 1950||U. of California, Los Angeles Law 1953|
|Senior Judge William Canby||Carter||'5/23/1980 - 5/23/1996||5/23/1996 - Present||Yale University 1953||University of Minnesota, Twin Cities 1956|
|Senior Judge John Noonan||Reagan||12/17/1985-12/27/1996||12/27/1996-Current||Harvard College 1946||Catholic University of America 1949|
|Senior Judge Edward Leavy||Reagan||3/23/1987 - 5/19/1997||5/19/1997 - Present||University of Portland 1950||Notre Dame Law School 1953|
|Senior Judge Stephen Trott||Reagan||3/25/1988 - 12/31/2004||12/31/2004 - Present||Wesleyan University 1962||Harvard Law School 1965|
|Senior Judge Ferdinand Francis Fernandez||H.W. Bush||5/22/1989-6/1/2002||6/1/2002-Current||University of Southern California 1958||University of Southern California Law School 1962|
|Senior Judge Michael Hawkins||Clinton||9/15/1994 - 2/12/2010||2/12/2010-Current||Arizona State University 1967||Arizona State University College of Law 1970|
|Senior Judge Atsushi Wallace Tashima||Clinton||1/4/1996 - 6/30/2004||6/30/2004 - Present||University of California, Los Angeles 1958||Harvard Law School 1961|
Former Chief judges
|Albert Lee Stephens, Sr.||1957-1959|
|John Clifford Wallace||1991-1996|
|James R. Browning||1976-1988|
|Richard Harvey Chambers||1959-1976|
In order to qualify for the office of Chief Judge in one of the federal courts, a judge must have been in active service on the court for at least one year, be under the age of 65, and have not previously served as Chief Judge. A vacancy in the office of Chief Judge is filled by the judge highest in seniority among the group of qualified judges. The Chief Judge serves for a term of seven years or until age 70, whichever occurs first. The age restrictions are waived if no members of the court would otherwise be qualified for the position. Unlike the Chief Justice of the United States, a Chief Judge returns to active service after the expiration of his or her term and does not create a vacancy on the bench by the fact of his or her promotion. See 28 U.S.C. § 45.
These rules for Chief Judges in the federal judiciary have been in effect since October 1, 1982. The office of Chief Judge was created in 1948. Until August 6, 1959, the position was filled in each federal court by the longest-serving judge who had not elected to retire on what has since 1958 been known as senior status or declined to serve as Chief Judge. From then until 1982 it was filled by the senior such judge who had not turned 70.
- Anthony Kennedy
- Lorenzo Sawyer
- Joseph McKenna
- William Ball Gilbert
- Erskine Mayo Ross
- William Henry Hunt
- Wallace McCamant
- Frank Sigel Dietrich
- William Henry Sawtelle
- Francis Arthur Garrecht
- William Denman
- Clifton Mathews
- Bert Emory Haney
- William Healy
- Homer Bone
- William Edwin Orr
- Walter Pope
- Dal Lemmon
- Richard Harvey Chambers
- Stanley Nelson Barnes
- Oliver Hamlin
- Gilbert Jertberg
- Charles Merton Merrill
- Montgomery Koelsch
- Benjamin Duniway
- Walter Raleigh Ely, Jr.
- James Marshall Carter
- Shirley Hufstedler
- Eugene Allen Wright
- John Francis Kilkenny
- Ozell Trask
- Herbert Choy
- J. Blaine Anderson
- Thomas Tang
- Cecil Poole
- William Albert Norris
- Charles Edward Wiggins
- Frederick Hamley
- Matthew Hall McAllister
- William Morrow
- Frank Rudkin
- Pamela Rymer
- James R. Browning
- Joseph Sneed
- Betty Binns Fletcher
- Otto Skopil
- Warren Ferguson
- Robert Boochever
- Cynthia Holcomb Hall
- Robert Beezer
- Melvin Brunetti
- David Thompson
- Thomas G. Nelson
- Curtis Dwight Wilbur
- Albert Lee Stephens, Sr.
- Albert Lee Stephens, Jr.
- William Orr
- John Kilkenny
Chief Judge: Alex Kozinski • Andrew Hurwitz • Kim McLane Wardlaw • Mary Murguia • Morgan Christen • Harry Pregerson • Stephen Reinhardt • Diarmuid O'Scannlain • Sidney Thomas • Barry Silverman • Susan Graber • Margaret McKeown • William Fletcher • Ronald Gould • Richard Paez • Marsha Berzon • Richard Tallman • Johnnie Rawlinson • Richard Clifton • Jay Bybee • Consuelo Maria Callahan • Carlos Bea • Milan Smith • Sandra Ikuta • Randy Smith • Jacqueline Nguyen • Paul Watford
Mary Schroeder • Andrew Kleinfeld • Raymond Fisher • Alfred Goodwin • John Clifford Wallace • Procter Hug • Joseph Farris • Arthur Alarcon • Dorothy Wright Nelson • William Canby • John Noonan • Edward Leavy • Stephen Trott • Ferdinand Francis Fernandez • Michael Hawkins • Atsushi Wallace Tashima •
|Former judges||Anthony Kennedy • Lorenzo Sawyer • Joseph McKenna • William Ball Gilbert • Erskine Mayo Ross • William Henry Hunt • Wallace McCamant • Frank Sigel Dietrich • William Henry Sawtelle • Francis Arthur Garrecht • William Denman • Clifton Mathews • Bert Emory Haney • William Healy • Homer Bone • William Edwin Orr • Walter Pope • Dal Lemmon • Richard Harvey Chambers • Stanley Nelson Barnes • Oliver Hamlin • Gilbert Jertberg • Charles Merton Merrill • Montgomery Koelsch • Benjamin Duniway • Walter Raleigh Ely, Jr. • James Marshall Carter • Shirley Hufstedler • Eugene Allen Wright • John Francis Kilkenny • Ozell Trask • Herbert Choy • J. Blaine Anderson • Thomas Tang • Cecil Poole • William Albert Norris • Charles Edward Wiggins • Frederick Hamley • Matthew Hall McAllister • William Morrow • Frank Rudkin • Pamela Rymer • James R. Browning • Joseph Sneed • Betty Binns Fletcher • Otto Skopil • Warren Ferguson • Robert Boochever • Cynthia Holcomb Hall • Robert Beezer • Melvin Brunetti • David Thompson • Thomas G. Nelson • Curtis Dwight Wilbur • Albert Lee Stephens, Sr. • Albert Lee Stephens, Jr. • William Orr • John Kilkenny •|
|Former Chief judges|