Flake Wants to Break Up 9th Circuit, Yellen Defends
August 25, 2017
Senator Jeff Flake wants to break up the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that it is currently too large. The ACLU is suing California over ballots which were discarded in the 2016 Presidential election. Janet Yellen is defending the financial system, which she believes to be stable and effective. Oil prices are up due to Hurricane Harvey, which is expected to hit Houston.
- Senator Flake argues to break up the 9th circuit. Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona held a Senate hearing to argue to split up the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The circuit includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and territorial districts in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, and serves a fifth of the US’ population. If the bill were to pass, California, Hawaii, Oregon and the territories would be separated from the other states, which would form a 12th circuit. Senator Flake was the only senator in attendance at the hearing, and heard from multiple witnesses, most which were in favor of breaking the court into 2 circuits, due, purportedly, to its large size. This hearing comes on the heels of angry tweets from the President targeting the 9th circuit’s rulings, which Senator Feinstein (CA-D) cited as evidence that this hearing was political instead of a procedural maneuver [Politico]
- ACLU sues California over discarded ballots in 2016 presidential race. California state law empowers election officials to compare mail in ballot signatures with on file signatures. In the event of a mismatch, officials are given broad authority to discard ballots. The ACLU has sued, arguing that the law disproportionately disenfranchises Latino and Asian voters, and that “People should not be denied their right to vote because a government official doesn’t like their penmanship.” In California last year, 45,000 ballots were discarded due to this rule. [The Hill]
Economic Indicators & News
- Yellen says financial system is sound, calls for modest changes. Janet Yellen spoke Friday, reflecting on the past decade since the financial crisis and the reforms that had been implemented in its wake. She spoke highly of a system which had addressed the liquidity crunch in the wake of closing financial institutions, and also praised regulations such as Dodd Frank that ensured future risk was mitigated. While she called for simplification and some, modest regulatory reform, she warned against wholesale changes to the system. It is unclear whether President Trump will reappoint Yellen when her term expires in 6 months. [CNBC]
- Oil rises due to Hurricane Harvey fears. Oil prices rose Friday as investors braced for the impact of Hurricane Harvey, the biggest storm to hit the US mainland in more than a decade. The hurricane will hit between Corpus Christi and Houston, both of which are important oil refinery centers, resulting in concerns over restricted US oil production. 10% of US offshore Gulf of Mexico crude output and 15% of natural gas output had been halted Thursday in anticipation of the storm. This comes at a time when a global crude glut has depressed prices, spurred in part by faltering OPEC efforts to restrict production. Oil prices have been well under the $50/barrel benchmark price. [Reuters]