Circuit courts were reassigned to SCOTUS judges Friday, with conservative-leaning justices overseeing key battleground states where President Donald Trump is embroiled in legal battles over voter fraud.
On Friday, the Supreme Court announced the latest allotment of Justices, made pursuant to Title 28, United States Code, Section 42, following the recent death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the appointment of Amy Coney Barrett.
Under the new order, at least two appointees of President Donald Trump will be in charge of circuit courts in battleground states still being heavily contested, with Justice Brett Kavanaugh responsible for the Sixth Circuit, where Michigan is located, and Justice Barrett presiding over the Seventh Circuit, where Wisconsin is located.
Other conservative justices will also oversee two other swing districts, with Justice Clarence Thomas presiding over the Eleventh Circuit, which encompasses Georgia, and Justice Samuel Alito covering Pennsylvania in the Third District.
Read the order below:
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,
For the Second Circuit, Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice,
For the Third Circuit, Samuel A. Alito, Jr., Associate Justice,
For the Fourth Circuit, John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice,
For the Fifth Circuit, Samuel A. Alito, Jr., Associate Justice,
For the Sixth Circuit, Brett M. Kavanaugh, Associate Justice,
For the Seventh Circuit, Amy Coney Barrett, Associate Justice,
For the Eighth Circuit, Brett M. Kavanaugh, Associate Justice,
For the Ninth Circuit, Elena Kagan, Associate Justice,
For the Tenth Circuit, Neil M. Gorsuch, Associate Justice,
For the Eleventh Circuit, Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice,
For the Federal Circuit, John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice.
It should be noted many circuit court assignments remained virtually unchanged, with the most notable change happening in the Sixth Circuit, where left-leaning Justice Sonia Sotomayor was replaced by Kavanaugh. See an October 2018 list of circuit court assignments.
SCOTUSBlog.com describes the duties of circuit justices, which include weighing in on “emergency requests” and referring certain matters to SCOTUS:
A circuit justice is primarily responsible for emergency requests (for example, an application to block an execution or allow it to go forward) from the geographic area covered by his or her circuit, as well as more mundane matters – for example, a request to extend the time to file a petition for review. However, justices can and often do refer significant emergency requests to the full court, as Justice Neil Gorsuch did earlier this month with a request by Native Americans in North Dakota to block the state from enforcing a law requiring voters to show an ID that includes a residential street address.
It remains to be seen whether circuit courts will have to weigh in on the 2020 presidential election, or whether contested state results will be referred to SCOTUS.
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