The Supreme Court of the United States has shuffled the circuit court assignments, assigning the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to Brett Kavanaugh, the newest associate justice.
Kavanaugh replaces Associate Justice Elena Kagan who was reassigned to the 9th Circuit. As the circuit justice for the 7th Circuit, Kavanaugh will serve as the point person primarily for emergency requests from the circuit court of appeals for federal district courts in Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin, according to the SCOTUSblog.
Statistics from the U.S. Courts show the 7th Circuit recorded 2,754 cases filed in the 12-month period ending March 31, 2018, a 17.3 percent drop from the previous 12 months.
Although it does not have the heaviest caseload in the federal judiciary, the Chicago-based appellate court has had notable cases. It was the first to rule that Title VII protections extend to sexual orientation and rejected the University of Notre Dame’s challenge to the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act. Also, it held nonmembers of public unions do have to pay fair share fees, a decision that the Supreme Court reversed in Janus v. American Federation, 16-1466, 585 U.S.___ (2018).
Moreover, Chief Judge Diane Wood along with judges Diane Sykes and Amy Coney Barrett, have all been mentioned as potential nominees to the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh’s assignment to the 7th Circuit comes weeks after his polarizing confirmation battle that ended with the Senate putting him on the Supreme Court by a 50-48 vote, one of the slimmest in history.
A judge for 12 years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Kavanaugh took a seat on the nation’s highest court despite an allegation of sexual assault and questions about his honesty and judicial temperament. Still, the bitterness of his confirmation dismayed members of the Indiana bar and brought reminders of other contentious nominations of Hoosiers to the federal bench.
The fallout from Kavanaugh’s confirmation is continuing. Last week, Chief Justice John Roberts handed over to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ethics complaints against the new associate justice.