Late last year, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a measure that would divide the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The proposal, Senate Bill 956, would create a new Twelfth Circuit comprised of Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, leaving California, Hawaii, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands in the Ninth Circuit. The Judiciary Committee vote is significant because no bill to split the Ninth Circuit has ever received floor debate. The second session of the 104th Congress could well divide the court.
Carl Tobias, Congress Considers Bill to Split Ninth Circuit, 79 Judicature 198 (1996).