Wednesday, March 22, 2017
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Saturday, March 18, 2017
|Judge Derrick Watson of the 9th Circuit Court|
The source of that frustration has been certain federal judges, who have squashed the President's executive orders to ban immigration to the United States from particular nation's deemed as security risks.
Many are wondering: who are these judges? How did they get their jobs? Can they be replaced? Why do they decide the issue, instead of the Supreme Court?
A quick primer of the U.S. federal judicial system is in order to help fully understand the issue. Congress has established 13 courts of appeals, divided up based on geographical regions of the country. These are often referred to as the "circuit courts" in the media.
It is the job of the circuit courts to hear appeals of civil and criminal issues brought before them. This is what has been happening with the President's executive orders. Attorneys General in state's that disapprove of the orders are appealing their legality to the circuit courts in their geographical area of the country.
For instance, the Attorney General in Hawaii appealed the President's most recent immigration executive order to the Ninth circuit court, which covers the western region of the United States.
The Ninth is generally known to be one of the most historically liberal circuits as to their rulings. It is also the largest circuit court, covering some 20% of the U.S. population. It is divided, as are each of the other circuits, into smaller geographical "districts", which oversee any actual federal trials.
The 13 circuit courts do not actually hold trials. Instead, they hear arguments in the form of "briefs", the arguments presented by lawyers for both sides of any matter brought as an appeal based on decisions in the lower courts. The circuit court judge hearing the case then makes a ruling.
Those circuit court rulings are not necessarily final. Any party not satisfied can appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) by asking for a "review" of the case.