President Donald Trump, upset by a district judge’s decision to temporarily block one of his immigration orders, went on Twitter to criticize the court.
“First the Ninth Circuit rules against the ban & now it hits again on sanctuary cities-both ridiculous rulings. See you in the Supreme Court!
Out of our very big country, with many choices, does everyone notice that both the ‘ban’ case and now the ‘sanctuary’ case is brought in …
…the Ninth Circuit, which has a terrible record of being overturned (close to 80%). They used to call this ‘judge shopping!’ Messy system.”
District judges within the 9th Circuit have halted two versions of executive orders signed by Trump seeking to temporarily halt the U.S. entry of refugees and nationals from several countries in the Middle East and Africa. On April 25, another judge within the 9th Circuit granted a nationwide preliminary injunction against a different Trump order, one aiming to cut federal funding to so-called sanctuary cities.
Given Trump’s record in the 9th Circuit, we wondered if his tweet was accurate – does the circuit have an overturn rate close to 80 percent? There are at least two ways to calculate that record, and by one metric the answer is yes. By another, it’s far less than 1 percent.
The 9th Circuit
Broadly speaking, the 9th Circuit includes the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and district and bankruptcy courts in 15 federal judicial districts (among them Hawaii, and districts in Washington, California).
It was a district judge in Hawaii who on March 15 blocked Trump’s revised travel ban.
On Feb. 3, a district judge in Seattle granted a nationwide temporary restraining order on the first version of Trump’s travel ban. Trump’s Justice Department filed a motion appealing that district court’s decision – the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the motion but asked for more information. On Feb. 9, in a 3-0 decision the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the Seattle judge’s decision.
An overturned record is a reflection of cases in which the Supreme Court ruled contrary to a lower court. The 80 percent Trump tweeted about was in reference to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ record, and does not exactly apply to the district courts.
The Supreme Court typically only hears 100 to 150 of the estimated 7,000 cases it’s asked to review per year. At least four of…