The Ninth Circuit refers to the Ninth Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals, also known as the circuit courts, reviews cases from state courts to make sure the law was justly applied and then either overturns or affirms the state courts’ decisions.
The Ninth Circuit Court is an appellate court that handles appeals taking place in the western portion of the continental U.S., the two non-continental states, and a few territories off the western coast of the country. It reviews both civil and criminal cases, including cases involving immigrants entering or staying in the U.S. without proper authorization.
Geographical Area Managed by the Ninth Circuit
There are 13 circuit courts in the U.S., and each covers its own territory of whole states and certain state districts.
The Ninth Circuit hears cases that originate and were tried in the western part of the U.S. and other states or territories off the western coast. These states and territories are:
- California (all four state districts)
- Northern Mariana Islands
- Washington (both state districts)
That means if you are in Arizona, where our office is based, fighting to stay in the U.S., your appeal would go to the Ninth Circuit Court.
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How Many Judges Are in the Ninth Circuit?
There are 29 circuit judges in the Ninth Circuit. Like the judges in the other 12 circuit courts, the judges in the Ninth Circuit were all appointed by presidents. The current Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit, Judge Mary H. Murguia, was appointed to the court by President Barack Obama in 2011. Other presidents who have appointed standing judges in the Ninth Circuit include Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Donald Trump, and Joe Biden.
There are 16 judges that were appointed by Democratic presidents, while 13 were appointed by Republican presidents. In many cases, the appointing president’s political party indicates how a judge tends to rule, especially on cases dealing with core values and issues of that political party. However, it is their duty as circuit court judges to rule fairly based on the evidence.
Who Are the Ninth Circuit Court Judges in Arizona?
Circuit court judges have chambers located in certain areas within the circuit. The judges who serve in Phoenix, Arizona, are:
- Judge Mary H. Murguia
- Judge Bridget S. Bade
- Judge Roopali Desai (incoming 2022)
However, just because your appeal was filed from a certain state or territory doesn’t mean that you will have a judge whose chambers are in that state. The Chief Judge ensures that there is an equal distribution of cases per judge, and it may be a random drawing that assigns a particular judge to a case. In fact, Ninth Circuit cases are heard in San Francisco, Pasadena, Seattle, and Portland.
There are also senior judges who have served for many decades and still take on some of the circuit’s caseload. That makes 51 total judges in the circuit.
Types of Immigration Cases in the Ninth Circuit
The Ninth Circuit handles both civil and criminal cases, including those involving immigration issues.
Since entering or remaining in the U.S. without proper authorization is a criminal offense, many immigration cases are reviewed as criminal cases. Here are the types of immigration cases that the Ninth Circuit handles:
- Unlawful planning to bring an undocumented immigrant to the U.S.
- Unlawful transportation or attempted transportation of an undocumented immigrant
- Harboring or attempted harboring of an undocumented immigrant
- Encouraging an undocumented immigrant to enter the country unlawfully
- Successful or attempted reentry to the U.S. of a deported person
If you are trying to appeal a denied visa or status change, we can file an appeal through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Administrative Appeals Office (AAO), which is a different process that we can discuss in your strategic session.
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Reversal Rate in the Ninth Circuit
If the Ninth Circuit Court doesn’t rule in your favor, you may still have a chance to try your case again and successfully appeal a decision on your immigration case. That’s where the Supreme Court comes in.
The U.S. Supreme Court can reverse or affirm the decision, meaning they’ll either rule that the Ninth Circuit was wrong or right in their decision.
The Ninth Circuit Court currently has the second-highest reversal rate out of all 13 circuit courts as of 2021. It has an 80.4% reversal rate, so the Supreme Court overturns these circuit court decisions a majority of the time. When you appeal to the Supreme Court on your immigration case, this is great news.
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Have a Strategic Session with New Frontier Immigration Law Today
At New Frontier Immigration Law, our team has represented immigrants in front of the Ninth Circuit Court as well as the Fifth Circuit, Sixth Circuit, the Supreme Court of Nevada, and the U.S. Supreme Court. We want to make sure every person trying to make a life in America has a fair shot.
Contact our office today to schedule your strategic session with one of our immigration lawyers.