The District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals is widely seen as second only to the Supreme Court in importance. It is where business comes to seek friendly interpretations of rules administrations write to execute the laws passed by Congress.
Federal judges are appointed by the president subject to the “advice and consent” of the Senate. Of the seven judges currently sitting full-time on the DC Circuit, four were appointed by a Republican president, three by a Democrat. They currently are assisted by six senior, or semiretired, judges on a part-time basis. Of these, only one was originally named by a Democrat.
Rulings by the court’s three-judge panels have lately reflected this partisan split. The court has struck down business-opposed rules adopted by the Securities and Exchange Commission to implement the Dodd-Frank act. It has sided with employers against organized labour, ruling that companies cannot be forced to inform workers of their rights. It has blocked enforcement of Environmental Protection Agency clean air rules. Continue reading “Busting the filibuster”