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Bill would move Arizona, five other states to newly-created 12th Circuit appeals court

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PHOENIX — A bill introduced in Congress on Thursday would create a federal court of appeals circuit that would oversee Arizona and five other states.

The Judicial Administration and Improvement Act of 2017 was put forth by U.S. Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake, both of Arizona.

The pair argued the 12th Circuit Court of Appeals should be created because the 9th Circuit, which handles cases from nine states and two territories, is overloaded. The average wait time for a case to be heard is more than 15 months.

“The facts show that the overburdened 9th Circuit causes unacceptable delays for the people of Arizona,” McCain said in a release.

“With this legislation, we will continue the effort forged by Sen. John Kyl to create a new 12th Circuit in order to ensure that all Arizonans have timely and fair access to the federal courts.”

The release claimed Arizona has the busiest docket in the 9th Circuit. Flake said a new circuit court would relieve some of that burden.

“Establishing a new circuit with stronger local, regional, and cultural ties will ease the burden across the West and ensure that the people of Arizona finally get the swift access to the courts they deserve,” he said.

The new court would oversee Arizona, Nevada, Montana, Idaho, Alaska and Washington. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, who helped create the bill, said the 12th Circuit would be more fair to his state.

“This is about responsible, good government,” he said in the release.

U.S. Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) worked with Flake and Ducey on a similar bill last year.

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