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Tue Dec 5, 2017, 07:18 PM

The Trump Court-Packing Plan Is Based on a Lie

DEC. 5 2017 6:51 PM
There is no judicial workload crisis.

By Jed Handelsman Shugerman

Federalist Society co-founder Steven Calabresi and attorney Shams Hirji dropped a bombshell plan at the end of November, proposing a massive expansion of the federal judiciary by 33 or even 50 percent. The New York Times’ Linda Greenhouse and Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick have each offered their own criticisms of the proposal. As Ron Klain explained in the Washington Post, the plan would have an absurdly profound effect on the makeup of the federal judiciary:

If conservatives get their way, President Trump will add twice as many lifetime members to the federal judiciary in the next 12 months (650) as Barack Obama named in eight years (325).

At times, Calabresi and Hirji are forthright about their motives. On the first page of their memo, the first header trumpets: “Undoing President Obama’s Judicial Legacy.” But most of their memo emphasizes an unprecedented “crisis” in judicial workload. “Caseloads have reached unprecedented levels,” they write, citing “a crisis in volume.” Apparently, the sky is falling, and Calabresi and Hirji just happened to notice now that Trump is in office. The Calabresi-Hirji memo is misleading about the facts of the federal judiciary, though. There is no workload crisis whatsoever.


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