Sen. Barbara Boxer said the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is facing a “judicial emergency" as she called for a Senate vote Tuesday on San Jose-based U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh’s nomination to the appellate court.
As the new year rears its head, the 9th Circuit is facing a four-seat vacancy: Two are currently empty and two will become vacant when other judges assume senior status at the end of 2016.
Why are four vacancies on a court of 29 active judges an emergency? U.S. courts designate vacancies on the 9th Circuit as emergencies and critical to fill as soon as possible due to the court's huge caseload, according to University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias.
The 9th Circuit receives about 10,000 to 12,000 cases a year and decides on roughly 6,000.