The Supreme Court announced on Friday, that, effective immediately, changes have been made on which Justices are responsible for emergency requests from each circuit.
The changes come as President Trump’s legal team is pursuing allegations of election fraud and say they will be presenting evidence soon. As a result of the changes, conservative justices are now responsible for four of the six states where the Trump campaign has filed legal challenges:
- Pennsylvania – Justice Samuel Alito
- Michigan – Justice Brett Kavanaugh
- Wisconsin – Justice Amy Coney Barrett
- Georgia – Justice Clarence Thomas
The other two states where the Trump campaign is contesting election results, Arizona and Nevada, fall under the jurisdiction of liberal justice Elena Kagan.
The SCOTUS BLOG reported the following:
A little less than a month after the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, the Supreme Court on Friday issued a new set of circuit justice assignments, which take effect immediately. Barrett was assigned to the 7th Circuit, where she served as a judge for three years before becoming a justice. Two other justices, Sonia Sotomayor and Neil Gorsuch, were also assigned for the first time to the circuits where they had previously served as judges – Sotomayor to the 2nd Circuit and Gorsuch to the 10th Circuit.
A circuit justice is primarily responsible for emergency requests (for example, an application to block an execution or to allow it to go forward) from the geographic area covered by his or her circuit, as well as more mundane matters, such as requests to extend filing deadlines. However, justices can and often do refer significant emergency requests to the full court – a role that has taken on increased importance in recent years with the sharp uptick in activity on the court’s “shadow docket.” A map of geographical regions covered by each circuit is available here.
Sotomayor’s move to the 2nd Circuit, which had previously been assigned to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (who grew up in New York City and lived there before moving to Washington to become a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit), kicked off a game of musical circuits among the justices. Sotomayor had previously been responsible for the 10th Circuit, which is now assigned to Gorsuch, as well as the 6th Circuit, which is now assigned to Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh, who had previously been assigned to the 7th Circuit, also took on the 8th Circuit, ceding the 7th Circuit to Barrett.
The following announcement was posted on the Supreme Court website Friday:
It is ordered that the following allotment be made of The Chief Justice and the Associate Justices of this Court among the circuits, pursuant to Title 28, United States Code, Section 42 and that such allotment be entered of record, effective November 20, 2020.
- For the District of Columbia Circuit – John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice
- For the First Circuit – Stephen Breyer, Associate Justice
(Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island)
- For the Second Circuit – Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice(Connecticut, New York, Vermont)
- For the Third Circuit – Samuel A. Alito, Jr., Associate Justice(Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virgin Island)
- For the Fourth Circuit – John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice(Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia)
- For the Fifth Circuit – Samuel A. Alito, Jr., Associate Justice(Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas)
- For the Sixth Circuit – Brett M. Kavanaugh, Associate Justice(Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee)
- For the Seventh Circuit – Amy Coney Barrett, Associate Justice(Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin)
- For the Eighth Circuit – Brett M. Kavanaugh, Associate Justice(Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota)
- For the Ninth Circuit – Elena Kagan, Associate Justice(Alaska, Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Nevada, Northern Mariana Islands, Washington)
- For the Tenth Circuit – Neil M. Gorsuch, Associate Justice(Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, Wyoming)
- For the Eleventh Circuit – Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice(Alabama, Florida, Georgia)
- For the Federal Circuit – John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice.
New: The Supreme Court has released new “circuit assignments.” Each justice initially handles emergency appeals that arise from the area covered by their assigned circuit(s). Barrett gets her old court: the 7th Circuit. Sotomayor takes over the 2nd Circuit (previously Ginsburg). pic.twitter.com/eF34IZQp67
— SCOTUSblog (@SCOTUSblog) November 20, 2020
Here’s a handy map showing the geographical areas covered by each of the circuits: pic.twitter.com/KQnGtZ06FR
— SCOTUSblog (@SCOTUSblog) November 20, 2020
Independent journalist Kyle Becker, former Fox News producer, explained the significance of the changes.
“These are the justices assigned to each circuit who accept emergency applications from petitioners. This is important when cases are submitted to be heard in SCOTUS,” Becker wrote.
“In other words, if a case from GA, MI, PA, or WI petitions SCOTUS we won’t have Sotomayor summarily rejecting it,” he aded.
These are the justices assigned to each circuit who accept emergency applications from petitioners. This is important when cases are submitted to be heard in SCOTUS.
In other words, if a case from GA, MI, PA, or WI petitions SCOTUS we won’t have Sotomayor summarily rejecting it. pic.twitter.com/yvKKhtkw2c
— Kyle Becker (@kylenabecker) November 21, 2020
The #SupremeCourt released the list of circuit assignments which shows conservative justices handling the circuits containing 4 of the 6 states where the #TrumpCampaign has contested the #Election. https://t.co/bxaN2tv9qv
— The Epoch Times (@EpochTimes) November 21, 2020