07.12.2013 0

Congress Must Stop the Obama Court-Packing Plan

Conservative Action Project

The Conservative Action Project, chaired by former Attorney General Edwin Meese and former Congressman David McIntosh, is designed to facilitate conservative leaders working together on behalf of common goals. Participants include the CEO’s of over 100 organizations representing all major elements of the conservative movement-economic, social and national security.

 Current Event:

President Obama is seeking to add three new judges to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, one of the most important but most underworked courts in the country. The move is a transparent attempt to evade our traditional system of checks and balances, turning an evenly divided court into a political rubber stamp for overreaching executive orders and agency actions.


· Congress should pass legislation to reduce the size of the D.C. Circuit to fit its actual workload. Legislation to this effect has been introduced by Senator Charles Grassley in the Senate and Rep. Tom Cotton in the House.
· The Senate must reject any new nominee to the D.C. Circuit, regardless of that nominee’s party, background, or philosophy.
Issue in Brief:

The D.C. Circuit’s workload has been in consistent decline in the last decade. According to United States Courts statistics, the number of pending appeals in the D.C. Circuit declined more than 10% between September 2005 and September 2012. There has also been a significant decline (more than 14%) in the number of cases filed in the D.C. Circuit. In fact, the court’s workload is now so low that it is not uncommon for the court to cancel argument dates because there are not enough cases.

But the court, which is largely responsible for reviewing the actions of the ever-growing administrative state, has served as one of the most effective checks on President Obama and his extreme agenda. According to liberal activist Nan Aron, “The court is critically important – the majority has made decisions that have frustrated the president’s agenda.” President Obama and his Democratic allies have been especially hostile to the D.C. Circuit since it invalidated his non-recess appointments to the NLRB, after he tried to circumvent the constitution’s advice and consent process. Similarly, the court has been criticized by liberals for invalidating a burdensome and illegal EPA rule which would have shut down power plants and increased American energy costs.

Federal courts have been a very low priority for most of President Obama’s tenure. But he has learned that a court that abides by the Constitution and traditional legal principles is a serious threat to his plan to insulate the administrative state from accountability. Here are just a few examples of cases President Obama would like to see decided by a politically motivated D.C. Circuit:

The lawsuit filed recently by a group of small business owners in six states seeking to invalidate a key IRS regulation imposed by Obamacare.

A constitutional challenge to Dodd-Frank, the massive bill that institutionalized taxpayer funded bailouts for big banks.

A challenge to the HHS contraceptive mandate, which forces religious organizations to violate their deeply held religious beliefs, or pay crippling fines.

Lawsuits challenging EPA regulations designed to stop fracking, the oil and gas extraction technique that has yielded a significant decrease in energy costs.

Lawsuits against IRS officials who wrongfully targeted American citizens because of their viewpoints.

To guarantee the desired political outcome in such cases, President Obama seeks to do exactly what President Franklin Roosevelt did when his agenda faced constitutional problems in the Supreme Court: pack the court with allies who will decide cases on the basis of politics instead of the Constitution and traditional legal principles. Or, as Senator Chuck Schumer put it, Democrats “will fill up the D.C. Circuit one way or another.”

One way they plan to “fill up the D.C. Circuit” is to put pressure on Republican Senators who fear that Majority Leader Harry Reid will use this opportunity to abolish the filibuster, destroying the minority party’s ability to debate important legislation. But no Senator should fall for that trap. Republicans have treated President Obama’s judicial nominees fairly, confirming more than 111 of them during the 112th Congress, more than during any other Congress in 20 years. According to President Obama, his nominees have waited “three times longer to receive confirmation votes than those of my Republican predecessors.” But that is simply not true. During his entire first term, President Obama’s appellate nominees waited an average of 240 days from nomination to confirmation. By contrast, President George W. Bush’s nominees waited an average of 283, and some waited for years.

No spin on the statistics will make it any easier for President Obama or Senator Reid to prove the existence of a crisis, because none exists. This is nothing more than a transparent attempt to evade our traditional system of checks and balances, turning an evenly divided court into a political rubber stamp for overreaching executive orders and agency actions. It must be stopped.




The Honorable Edwin Meese III

Former Attorney General

President Ronald Reagan


The Honorable David McIntosh

Former U.S. Representative



Mike Needham


Heritage Action for America


Tony Perkins


Family Research Council


Grover Norquist


Americans for Tax Reform


Brent Bozell




Colin Hanna


Let Freedom Ring


David Bossie


Citizens United


Phyllis Schlafly

Founder and President

Eagle Forum


The Honorable J. Kenneth Blackwell


Constitutional Congress, Inc.


The Honorable T. Kenneth Cribb, Jr.

Former Counselor to the U.S. Attorney General

President Ronald Reagan


The Honorable Alfred S. Regnery

Former Publisher

The American Spectator


William L Walton


Rappahannock Ventures LLC


Bob Reccord

Executive Director

Council for National Policy


Morton Blackwell


The Weyrich Lunch


Heather Higgins


Independent Women’s Forum


Kellyanne Conway


The Polling Company


Carrie Severino

Chief Counsel and Policy Director

Judicial Crisis Network


Gary Bauer


American Values


Mathew D. Staver


Liberty Counsel Action


Jim Martin


60 Plus Association


Nathan Mehrens


Americans for Limited Government


Duane Parde


National Taxpayers Union


Gary Aldrich


CNP Action, Inc.


Judson Phillips


Tea Party Nation


Gary Marx

Executive Director

Faith & Freedom Coalition


Phillip Jauregui


Judicial Action Group


Frank Cannon


American Principles Project


Curt Levey


The Committee for Justice


Jim Ryun


The Madison Project


Phil Kerpen


American Commitment


Tom Winter




Tim Wildmon


American Family Association


Raymond J. LaJeunesse, Jr.

Vice President & Legal Director

National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Inc.


Susan Carleson


American Civil Rights Union


Andrea Lafferty


Traditional Values Coalition


Lewis Uhler


National Tax Limitation Committee


Mario H. Lopez


Hispanic Leadership Fund


Craig Shirley

Reagan Campaign Biographer


Rev. Lou Sheldon


Traditional Values Coalition


Lee Beaman


Nashville, TN


Angelo M. Codevilla

Professor Emeritus

Boston University


Tom Donelson


America’s PAC


Kay R. Daly


Coalition for a Fair Judiciary


Ralph Benko


Center for Civic Virtue


Andresen Blom

Senior Strategist

Center for Civic Virtue


C. Preston Noell III President

Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.


Dan Bongino

Candidate for Congress



George Landrith


Frontiers of Freedom


Gene Mills


Louisiana Family Forum


Mike Stenhouse


Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity


Richard Viguerie




Elaine Donnelly


Center for Military Readiness


Larry Cirignano


Faithful Catholic Citizens


Jim Backlin


Christian Coalition of America


Bob Adams


Revive America USA


Dr. William Greene




Paul Caprio


Family PAC Federal


Sandy Rios

Vice President

Family PAC Federal


Melissa Ortiz


Able Americans


Catherine Engelbrecht


True the Vote


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