Grassley’s Court Packing Plan Plays Politics with Justice System

People For the American Way today criticized Senator Charles Grassley’s scheme to reduce the number of judges on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, introduced in order to preserve the Court’s current conservative makeup.

“Senator Grassley’s legislation is a transparent power grab to protect the Court’s sharp conservative bent,” said Marge Baker, Executive Vice President at People For the American Way. “The DC Circuit Court of Appeals hears some of the nation’s most complex and important cases, but Republicans have prevented President Obama from placing a single judge on the court despite the fact that four of its eleven seats are vacant. The DC Circuit is unique among the nation’s circuit courts, and the cases it hears are among the most complicated in our legal system: arguing that we need fewer judges on the court is absurd.

“This is simply court packing by another name. When President Bush was appointing judicial ideologues to the court, Senator Grassley was perfectly willing to support every single one—even when the caseload per active judge was lighter than it is now. And when Senator Grassley thought Mitt Romney might be filling vacancies, we saw no sign of the bill that has now been introduced. Now that President Obama will be naming judges for another four years, Senator Grassley claims there are too many. The hypocrisy is breathtaking. I’m surprised he can make this proposal with a straight face.”

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