PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Arizona Governor Doug Ducey is pushing to remove Arizona from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. He says the state should move to another circuit or join a newly created one.
The 9th Circuit has been liberal leaning in decisions, and it has an extreme caseload causing a major backlog. Critics of the move say it's motivated by politics, not justice.
The lawmakers behind the move say it is necessary for judicial efficiency, the 9th Circuit has a backlog of cases and Arizonans shouldn't have to wait so long for justice to be served.
The 9th Circuit is the final say on several hot button Arizona measures, including striking down SB1070 and same-sex marriage. Now, Governor Ducey is joining other Arizona Congressional leaders in trying to move Arizona out of the circuit.
"I would be lying if I didn't say I was frustrated with the fact that many of the decisions coming out of that court I think are very destructive, and not based on constitutional principles," said Rep. Matt Salmon.
Salmon points out nearly 78% of the 9th Circuit's decisions have been overturned. He's drafting a bill that would create a new circuit. The 9th Circuit has jurisdiction over nine states including liberal-leaning states like California, Washington, and Oregon. The bill proposes creating a 12th circuit which would include Nevada, Arizona, Montana, Idaho, and Alaska or more conservative leaning states.
"Well I'm not going to lie to you I think that's going to be a benefit, the 9th Circuit court of appeals is out of whack with mainstream America," said Salmon.
Some say the move can be seen as court shopping, or finding a court that aligns with a certain philosophy.
"Then I think it is wrong, we should not have politics play in what state belongs to what circuit," said attorney Danny Ortega.
While many agree on the backlog of cases, Ortega says moving states out of the district is not the only option.
"The solution offered in the past to get cases moving is to add more judges, not to take Arizona out of the circuit, nor to create a new circuit," said Ortega.
The last proposal to split the 9th Circuit failed in Congress in 2005.