Stakes are high as playoffs arrive for Phoenix Rising

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Ricardo Ávila

Friday, Oct. 19, 2018

Stakes are high as playoffs arrive for Phoenix Rising

SCOTTSDALE - The implications of Phoenix Rising FC’s first playoff game are far-reaching.Not only is advancement in the postseason at stake, but the club hopes to make a strong case for becoming one of Major League Soccer’s expansion franchises.The Rising face Portland Timbers 2 at 7:30 tonight at the Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex in the United Soccer League’s 16-team single elimination tournament. The Rising ended their regular season with a 1-0 loss to the Timbers.“Focusing pretty intently all week,” Rising defender Joe Farrell said. “The level has definitely raised. Everyone’s kind of buzzing to get into this first game and really get a chance to bite back at Portland for the last weekend.”The game is about more than just a ticket to the conference semifinals.The club’s MLS aspirations could be jeopardized. The Rising hope to land one of two MLS expansion spots, Nos. 27 or 28.The club is hosting MLS executives, who will be attending the match tonight, although Rising general manager Bobby Dulle said the MLS visit is “just a visit.”The league fields 23 teams, but has confirmed three more spots, for FC Cincinnati in 2019, and for Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC in 2020.Detroit and Sacramento were the other two finalists in the vote to grant MLS franchises Nos. 24 and 25. They are competing directly with the Rising, among others, for an MLS spot.It appears likely one of the two remaining spots will be going to Austin FC, the team from the Texas city where the Columbus Crew franchise had planned on landing.The Crew could now remain in Columbus due to Cleveland Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam emerging as strong candidates to buy the team and keep it in Ohio.MLS hasn’t fully clarified whether Austin FC will take up one of two remaining MLS spots but strongly hinted at that possibility.“Regardless of any scenario in Columbus, there is a clear path forward for (Prescourt Sports Ventures) to operate Austin FC as a Major League Soccer club,” MLS said via a statement on their website. [caption id="attachment_101126" align="alignright" width="300"] Solomon Asante of Phoenix Rising FC is among the players who hope to lead the team in the postseason. (Photo by Joe Hicks/Getty Images)[/caption]PSV is Crew CEO Anthony Precourt’s ownership group.A lot has changed for the Rising in a month.A month ago, the Rising trailed first-placed Orange County SC by four points, with two games in hand. A first-place finish was attainable.A month ago, the Rising won seven of eight games between August and September, scoring 18 goals and allowing only four.A month ago, the Rising had three club records in sight: most club points in a single season, most goals scored in a single season and best-ever finish.And even though they achieved all three records, their hot September form has cooled off along with the Arizona weather.The last three games of the regular season saw the Rising lose twice and tie once, scoring two goals and allowing six in the process.The Rising finished the regular season in third place of the Western Conference, three points behind first-placed Orange County SC.Farrell said the team can’t take anything for granted, after having significantly more scoring options than Portland last week, and said scoring early is key for Timbers 2 to lose confidence.Rising coach Rick Schantz said losing to Portland gave the Rising focus.“At this point now, we know everything we need to know about Portland. The idea here is being a little bit more focused in the final third,” Schantz said.Schantz said the last three games served the Rising as preparation for the playoffs.“ ‘Ifs’ don’t get you anything in this game,” he said. “All we have now is we have to win. If we take our chances and put the game away early, that’ll definitely be in our favor. … In the front third in particular, we have to be killers.”They have the fifth-best offense in the league with 63 goals and the second best defense, with 16 shutouts allowed.If the Rising win, they will face the winner of the Sacramento Republic-Swope Park Rangers matchup.Connect with us on Facebook. Read more

US and South Korea Scrap Military Exercise For Diplomatic Reasons

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The U.S. and South Korea are scrapping one of the biggest joint military exercises in the world.

The Pentagon made the announcement Friday, saying it was suspending the exercise to aid in the ongoing diplomatic process with North Korea. 

The North has long called for an end to the exercises, which it has called provocative. President Donald Trump has also criticized the exercises, and in particular their cost. After his summit with Kim Jong Un in Singapore in June, the president announced he would suspend the "war games," as he called them.  

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Pyongyang earlier this month, to hash out plans for another summit between Kim and President Trump. 

Additional reporting by Newsy affiliate CNN.

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House Dems: Trump Might’ve Had Financial Motive In Halting FBI HQ Move

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House Democrats say President Donald Trump was more involved in halting plans to move the FBI headquarters out of Washington than previously revealed.

In a letter to the General Services administrator on Thursday, the lawmakers released internal documents that show the president took part in meetings about the relocation — and those meetings weren't disclosed to Congress. 

They're concerned the decision to stop the relocation could've had a financial motive, benefiting the president. 

Here's why: The FBI building is just a block away from the Trump International Hotel. Democrats argue that before he became president, Trump was in favor of moving the building away from Washington and using the land for downtown development. They claim now that he's a federal employee and can't purchase the property, he wanted the FBI to stay there so a competitor couldn't buy the land. 

In a statement to media outlets, the White House denied the claim, saying Trump's decision was based on saving taxpayer money and the fact that FBI leadership didn't want to move. 

Back in 2017, the General Services Administration canceled the plans to relocate the headquarters, saying there wasn't enough funding to do so. 

Calling it a "conflict of interest," House Democrats have asked for more information on the issue. 

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN

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Russian Woman Charged With U.S. Election Interference

Read more of this story here from Truthdig RSS by DEB RIECHMANN and ERIC TUCKER / The Associated Press.

WASHINGTON — A Russian woman was accused Friday of a sweeping effort to sway American public opinion through social media in the first federal case alleging foreign interference in the 2018 midterm election.

The Justice Department unsealed the criminal complaint on the same day that U.S. intelligence agencies, in a rare public statement, asserted that Russia, China, Iran and other countries were engaged in continuous efforts to influence American policy and voters in the upcoming elections and beyond.

The U.S. is concerned about the foreign campaigns “to undermine confidence in democratic institutions and influence public sentiment and government policies,” the national security officials said. “These activities also may seek to influence voter perceptions and decision-making in the 2018 and 2020 U.S. elections.”

The Justice Department prosecution targets Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova, a St. Petersburg woman who prosecutors say helped manage the finances of a hidden but powerful Russian social media effort aimed at spreading distrust for American political candidates and causing divisions on hot-button social issues like immigration and gun control.

Prosecutors say Khusyaynova worked for the same social media troll farm that was indicted earlier this year by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his investigation into potential coordination between Russia and the 2016 Trump presidential campaign. The social media effort outlined by prosecutors Friday largely mirrors Mueller’s criminal case against three Russian companies, including the Internet Research Agency, and 13 Russians.

Since at least 2015, the group created thousands of false social media profiles and email accounts that appeared to be from people inside the U.S. and were aimed to “create and amplify divisive social and political content,” including on significant current events, such as deadly shootings in South Carolina and Las Vegas, prosecutors said in court papers.

One fake persona, registered to “Bertha Malone,” made over 400 Facebook posts containing inflammatory content. Another fake Facebook account, in the name of “Rachell Edison,” made more than 700 posts focused on gun control and the Second Amendment.

The Russian organizers of the conspiracy advised that the posts should reflect various viewpoints, and it gave specific instructions to only share articles from certain news websites to correspond to specific political views, prosecutors said.

After one news article appeared online with the headline, “McCain Says Thinking a Wall Will Stop Illegal Immigration is ‘Crazy,'” members of the group were told to brand the Republican senator as “an old geezer who has lost it and who long ago belonged in a home for the elderly.” They were also told to say that McCain had a “pathological hatred toward Donald Trump and toward all his initiatives.”

After another article appeared about Mueller last year, members of the troll farm were told to share the article and say that Mueller was a “puppet of the establishment” who had connections to the Democratic Party and “who says things that should either remove him from his position or disband the entire investigation commission.”

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said recently that Russia has no intention to interfere in the midterm elections in the U.S. or meddle elsewhere.

Friday’s separate statement about foreign influence in U.S. elections was issued just weeks before the Nov. 6 elections by the Office of the Department of National Intelligence, the Justice Department, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.

Given the breadth of alleged interference by Russia, which includes the hacking of Democratic email accounts ahead of the 2016 presidential election, it was notable that the intelligence community identified two other nations in the same statement that did not provide specific examples of foreign meddling.

President Trump has often cast doubt on U.S. intelligence findings that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, as Mueller investigates whether Trump’s campaign was connected. More recently, Trump has conceded a Russian role but has likened it to efforts of China and other nations.

Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence blasted China in a speech saying Russia’s influence efforts in America pale in comparison with the covert and overt activities of the Chinese to interfere in the midterms and counter Trump’s tough trade policies against Beijing.

But top administration officials have provided little evidence that China’s activities are comparable to Russia’s massive covert measures that were spelled out in previous indictments obtained by Mueller.

The officials have cited largely public steps taken by China, such as aiming tariffs at politically important states and pressuring U.S. businesses to speak out against the Trump administration.

Other countries are using social media to amplify divisive issues in American society and sponsor content in English-language media, such as Russia’s RT and Sputnik news outlets, the security agencies’ statement said. They also distribute propaganda and plant disinformation against political candidates, the departments said.

The agencies said they currently do not have any evidence that voting systems have been disrupted or compromised in ways that could result in changing vote counts or hampering the ability to tally votes in the midterms, which are fewer than 20 days away.

“Some state and local governments have reported attempts to access their networks, which often include online voter registration databases, using tactics that are available to state and nonstate cyber actors,” they said.

But so far, they said, state and local officials have been able to prevent access or quickly mitigate these attempts.

___

Associated Press writers Michael Balsamo and Colleen Long contributed to this report.

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Crowds await Trump as he criss-crosses three corners of Phoenix metro area

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Cronkite Staff

Friday, Oct. 19, 2018

Crowds await Trump as he criss-crosses three corners of Phoenix metro area

MESA – As President Donald Trump started crisscrossing the Phoenix metro area Friday, people lined up hours before an evening rally that has become a trademark of his administration.Trump was moving from a fundraiser in Scottsdale to a tour of Luke Air Force Base in Glendale and back again for the Mesa “Make America Great” rally expected to draw hundreds to Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport at 6:30 p.m. Friday He’ll head back to the White House on Saturday.– Map by Daisy Finch and Gina Dattolo/Cronkite NewsSupporters lined up in Mesa as dawn broke.Jay Cole, a Trump rally veteran, said for these events, it’s best to leave his house in Mesa by 3 a.m. or, at the latest, 4 a.m., to be among the first in line.“I like to be in the front so I can get front row seats so I can be close to him,” Jay Cole said. He said he expected the president to be worth the wait, calling the chance to hear him speak a once-in-a lifetime opportunity for him.He brought his brother, Tim Cole, to his first rally.Tim Cole said he’s not sure what to expect, but he’s game.“I’ve never met or been around the president or any president so I thought it would be fun,” he said. By 1 p.m. Friday, the line snaked around the building. Mesa police said about 1,000 people were there but called it a rough estimate.One of those was Teresa Mendoza, a Mesa resident and a member of the Latinas for Trump national group. She said she was a longtime Democrat but became a Republican after Trump became president."The Democrats are out of control," she said. "Now I'm not only an ex-Democrat, I'll never vote Democrat again. He turned me into a Trumpster."She attended the Phoenix rally last year, which led to Phoenix police turning tear gas and pepper-spray bullets on protesters after the rally. The Phoenix chapter of the ACLU has filed a class action lawsuit, saying police overreacted.But Mendoza said she hopes police would use force again if protesters act irrationally. What brought her to this rally is seeing people of all backgrounds supporting Trump's values.The president arrived late Thursday night at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and headed directly to the Scottsdale Princess resort. On Friday, according to his schedule, he participated in a roundtable discussion with supporters, delivered remarks at a fundraising committee luncheon and sign a presidential memorandum about the “reliable supply and delivery of water in the West.”Republican Senate candidate Martha McSally, who is vying against Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, announced Trump’s tour of the base during a debate on Monday night that aired on Arizona PBS. While on base, the President is expected to participate in a defense roundtable as well.[su_divider top="no" size="1" margin="10"] [sub-tag] Read more

SCOTUS Map: October 2018

Read more of this story here from SCOTUSblog by Victoria Kwan.

SCOTUS Map: October 2018

The Supreme Court justices strove to calm the frayed nerves of a nation in the aftermath of the Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s tumultuous confirmation fight, attempting to restore a narrative about a nonpartisan and independent court that had been damaged with each twist of the hearings.

Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, making a joint appearance at a Princeton alumnae conference on October 5, spoke at length on the court’s role as a neutral arbiter in an era of intense partisanship. “Part of the court’s strength and part of the court’s legitimacy depends on people not seeing the court in the way that people see the rest of the governing structures in this country right now,” Kagan stated. “It’s an incredibly important thing for the court to guard—this reputation of being fair, of being impartial, of being neutral, and not simply an extension of the terribly political process and environment that we live in.”

Conceding that the votes in many closely-watched 5-4 rulings could be predicted by looking at the party of the president who nominated the justice, Kagan noted that the lack of a swing vote could harm the court’s image:

It’s been an extremely important thing for the court that in the last 30 years, starting with Justice [Sandra Day] O’Connor and continuing with Justice [Anthony] Kennedy, there’s been a person who people found the center, or people couldn’t predict in that sort of way, and that’s enabled the court to look as though it was not owned by one side or another, and was indeed impartial and neutral and fair. It’s not so clear, I think, going forward, that sort of middle position – it’s not so clear whether we’ll have it. All of us need to be aware of that, every single one of us, and to realize how precious the court’s legitimacy is. We don’t have an army, we don’t have any money. The only way we get people to do what we say that they should do is because people respect us, and respect our fairness.

Sotomayor offered a further reason for the politicization of the court: “[O]ur political parties have adopted the academic discussions [about originalism vs. the living constitution] that judges were having for the longest time about how to interpret laws and the Constitution… And when the political parties adopted that language as their own, they’ve now superimposed that on the court, so originalists get identified as the choice of a certain group of politicians, and non-originalists, the choice of another group, of a different party.” This, Sotomayor said, “has hurt the court a lot.”

The justices then spoke of civility as both a moral good and a long-term strategy. “[W]e have to rise above partisanship in our personal relationships,” Sotomayor said, urging the audience to find the good in each other, as the justices do. “We have to treat each other with respect and dignity and with a sense of amicability that the rest of the world doesn’t often share. Elena’s relationship with Justice Scalia is well-known … and Neil Gorsuch and I are doing a lot of work together promoting civic education in the United States. Our openness about respecting one another is an example that’s important for us both to maintain and promote.”

Being civil does not mean that the justices compromise their fundamental approaches to interpreting the Constitution, Sotomayor continued, which sometimes leads to the 5-4 decisions that the public finds so divisive. “But we do manage to agree on lots of things and to the extent we can avoid ruling in such expansive ways as to foreclose continued conversation, I think we have a chance of holding on to our legitimacy.”

Kagan admitted that there is “a little bit of self-interest going on here, because we live in this world where it’s just the nine of us.” Harboring grudges or ill will toward a colleague would backfire in future cases, she stated, “since you have not much of a chance of persuading that colleague to come along with what you think is the right thing to do.” According to Kagan, “we all have a vested interest in having good relations with each other, and that is part of what maintains our good behavior.”

Video of Sotomayor and Kagan’s talk is available online via Circa. Coverage comes from NJ.com, North Jersey Record, The Daily Princetonian and Bloomberg.

Two days later, after Kavanaugh had been confirmed and sworn in as the newest justice, Sotomayor spoke at an American Academy of Arts & Sciences event in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she carefully tiptoed around questions about the dynamics of the court going forward. While acknowledging that the arrival of a new colleague is like having a “new child in the family” — “It disrupts everything, doesn’t it? It changes your world” — the justice was quick to emphasize that all families agree on some things and disagree on others. “That family conversation, when there’s a new member, changes… There are those who will ask me to predict what that change will be. That’s not a useful enterprise, at least for me, because I have to watch this development and participate in it with as open a mind as I can have.” Video of Sotomayor’s remarks is accessible on the American Academy of Arts & Sciences website.

Echoing Sotomayor’s description of the court as a family, Chief Justice John Roberts compared gaining a new justice to having a “new in-law at Thanksgiving dinner” at an October 16 appearance at the University of Minnesota Law School.

Notably, Roberts took a few minutes ahead of the scheduled conversation to deliver prepared remarks addressing “the contentious events in Washington of recent weeks.”

I will not criticize the political branches, we do that often enough in our opinions. But what I would like to do briefly is emphasize how the judicial branch is and how it must be very different.

I have great respect for our public officials. After all, they speak for the people, and that commands a certain degree of humility from those of us in the judicial branch who do not. We do not speak for the people, but we speak for the Constitution. Our role is very clear: We are to interpret the Constitution and laws of the United States and ensure that the political branches act within them.

That job obviously requires independence from the political branches. The story of the Supreme Court would be very different without that sort of independence. Without independence, there is no Brown v. Board of Education. Without independence, there is no West Virginia v. Barnette, where the court held that the government could not compel schoolchildren to salute the flag, and without independence there is no steel seizure case, where the court held that President Truman was subject to the Constitution, even in a time of war.

Now, the court has from time to time erred, and erred greatly. But when it has, it has been because the court yielded to political pressure, as in the Korematsu case, shamefully upholding the internment during World War II of Japanese American citizens.

Those of us on the court know the best way to do our job is to work together in a collegial way. I am not talking about mere civility, although that helps. I am instead talking about a shared commitment to a genuine exchange of ideas and views through each step of the decision process. We need to know in each step that we are in this together.

There is a concrete expression of that collegiality in a tradition at the court that has prevailed for over a century. Before we go onto the bench to hear an argument in a case, and before we go into the conference room to discuss a case, we pause for a moment and shake each other’s hand.

It’s a small thing, perhaps, but it is a repeated reminder that, as our newest colleague put it, we do not sit on opposite sides of an aisle. We do not caucus in separate rooms. We do not serve one party or one interest. We serve one nation. And I want to assure all of you that we will continue to do that to the best of our abilities, whether times are calm or contentious.

CNN, The Washington Post and POLITICO summarized Roberts’ remarks, as did Andrew Hamm for this blog. C-SPAN posted video of the appearance.

At an October 19 ceremony celebrating the expansion of the Judicial Center in Newton County, Georgia, Justice Clarence Thomas also spoke about judicial independence. “Judicial independence is critical to liberty and to justice. In our great country, the judiciary is not a puppet for those in power, nor is it the engine for pioneering social change,” the Rockdale Newton Citizen and the Associated Press quoted him as saying. “Rather, it is a safeguard against tyranny, and an assurance of neutral arbiters for those seeking the protection of the law.”

Although the sitting justices projected a united front, retired Justice John Paul Stevens felt no such obligation to match his message to his former colleagues’. Stevens made headlines at an October 4 Institute for Learning in Retirement event in Boca Raton, Florida, when he said that Kavanaugh’s temperament disqualified him from a seat on the court. The justice, who had favorably quoted Kavanaugh in one of his books, explained: “At that time, I thought he had the qualifications for the Supreme Court should he be selected… I’ve changed my views for reasons that have no relationship to his intellectual ability or his record as a federal judge. He’s a fine federal judge who should have been confirmed when he was nominated. But his performance during the hearings caused me to change my mind… [As several commentators have noted], he has demonstrated a potential bias involving enough potential litigants before the court that he would not be able to perform his full responsibilities.”

Asked how Kavanaugh’s hearings differed from Thomas’, Stevens replied: “There is nothing Clarence did during the hearings that would disqualify him from sitting in cases after he came on the court… As a person, I am very fond of him. He is a very decent and likable person. You cannot help but like Clarence Thomas, which I don’t think necessarily would be true of this particular nominee.” Coverage comes from the Palm Beach Post and the New York Times. Video of the event is available on C-SPAN.

On the same day of Stevens’ lecture, five of his former coworkers — Roberts, Thomas, Justice Samuel Alito, Kagan and Gorsuch — attended the unveiling of a statue of Justice Antonin Scalia at George Mason University. Coverage of that event comes from the Associated Press and the Washington Post. Justice Stephen Breyer, meanwhile, appeared at The Atlantic Festival to discuss Shakespeare and the law. Andrew Hamm of this blog covered Breyer’s talk. Footage comes from C-SPAN.

In other events this month:

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This Border Policy Option Is Being Called ‘Separation 2.0’

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"The desperation of children separated from their parents"

"Protesters taking to the street horrified that immigration officials are ripping families apart"

You're probably not hearing these phrases as often as you did this summer, when the government's separation practice led to a massive outcry. Because of that backlash, President Donald Trump ended the six-week-long policy in June. And thanks to an ongoing lawsuit, most of the separated families have now been reunited.

But as migrant families continue to make the journey to the U.S. in record numbers, the Trump administration is reportedly weighing a new border pilot program that some in the press are already calling "separation 2.0."

The policy, which is still under consideration, is quite different from the forced separations the government carried out over the summer. It's known as the "binary choice" approach because asylum-seeking families would be given two options: remain detained together during the entire duration of their immigration case, or allow children to be released after 20 days while parents stay behind bars. 

Critics are calling the choice faced by migrant parents "impossible." Human Rights First equated the dilemma with "forcing families to choose between indefinite incarceration and family separation."

But government officials see the soaring number of family crossings as sign of an increase in fraudulent asylum claims. They believe that releasing apprehended families pending their court hearing would only make the problem worse. 

A government spokesperson told CBS News that the so-called "catch and release" practice would "incentivize illegal border-crossers to take this dangerous journey because they are unlikely to face consequences for their illegal conduct and in fact will almost certainly be released." 

Besides, the Trump administration believes the "binary choice" policy is legally sound, according to the Washington Post. That's because the same federal judge who ordered the reunification of separated families approved a similar proposal in one of his rulings back in August.

The White House is also tackling the border crossings issue from a different front. It's proposed rules to get rid of an old court ruling restricting how long it can keep minors in immigration detention to 20 days. Lifting that restriction would allow the government to keep families detained together indefinitely. Legal experts say that proposed change will likely face serious challenges in court.

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Federal Judge Sets Sentencing Date For Paul Manafort

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A federal judge in Virginia has set a sentencing date for Paul Manafort.

The former campaign chairman for President Donald Trump will be sentenced Feb. 8 on eight counts of bank and tax fraud crimes. The judge dismissed 10 additional counts after a jury couldn't reach a verdict on them.

Manafort pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in a separate trial in Washington, D.C. last month. He could face a sentence of ten years or more in prison. 

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.

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What Makes California’s Santa Ana Winds So Fierce?

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October is a windy time for southern California — and the Santa Ana winds aren't your everyday gusts. Thanks to where and when they arrive, these wind events are especially good at spreading infection, knocking out the power, and helping to propel serious wildfires. 

In the fall months, cool air in areas of high pressure over Nevada moves to areas of lower pressure over the Pacific Ocean. That's how we get most wind. But this wind also gets faster and hotter as it flows downhill from higher elevations, and the mountain passes it moves through in California act like a series of funnels that speed it up even more.

By the time this wind hits the coasts of southern California, it can reach major hurricane speeds. Some gusts have registered at more than 150 miles per hour. They can knock down trees and power lines, and even vehicles.

The winds blow around fungal spores that spread the flu-like Valley Fever, and they pick up smoke and ash that can cause respiratory trouble. 

SEE MORE: How Smoke From Wildfires Affects Your Health

And most of all: Hot, fast winds are a recipe for explosive wildfires, especially when they arrive after dry summer spells. Santa Ana winds have fanned some of the most dangerous and destructive fires California has ever seen, and help make October the state's worst month for fires overall.

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Court issues new circuit assignments

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Court issues new circuit assignments

Thirteen days after Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed as the Supreme Court’s newest associate justice, the court today issued a new set of circuit justice assignments, which take effect immediately. The new list was the second one in the past few months, replacing the assignment list issued after Justice Anthony Kennedy retired on July 31, leaving the court with only eight justices.

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.

Lawyers who practice regularly before the court are often keenly interested in circuit justice assignments because the justices can have different policies on when they will grant extensions to file petitions for review: The late Justice Antonin Scalia, for example, virtually never granted them, while now-retired Justice John Paul Stevens would generally grant not just one but two 30-day extensions as long as they were timely filed.

In August, Chief Justice John Roberts had assumed responsibility for the 9th Circuit, which covers nine states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Nevada and Washington) plus Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. Justice Elena Kagan is now the circuit justice for the 9th Circuit; the 6th and 7th Circuits, for which Kagan had previously been responsible, are now covered by Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Brett Kavanaugh, respectively. All of the other circuit-justice assignments remain the same.

The chief justice generally is responsible for three circuits: the District of Columbia Circuit, the Federal Circuit and the 4th Circuit. Some of the other circuit assignments reflect the justices’ links to different parts of the country. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, for example, is responsible for the 2nd Circuit, which includes New York, where she grew up and lived before moving to Washington to become a judge, while Justice Stephen Breyer, who sat on the 1st Circuit before he became a justice, is the circuit justice for that circuit. Justice Samuel Alito, who was born in New Jersey and formerly served as judge on the 3rd Circuit, which includes New Jersey, continues to serve as the circuit justice for the 3rd Circuit (along with the 5th Circuit), while Justice Clarence Thomas, a Georgia native, is the circuit justice for the 11th Circuit, which includes Georgia. Kagan, however, is a native New Yorker who has spent most of her adult life in Chicago, Massachusetts and Washington.

This post was originally published at Howe on the Court.

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