Obama Could Reshape 5th Circuit

Dec 26, 2012

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is widely viewed as one of the nation's most conservative federal appellate courts, but President Barack Obama could get a chance to change that perception.

Republican presidents nominated 10 of the 15 active judges serving on the New Orleans-based court. But six of those GOP-nominated judges are eligible for senior status or will be in the next four years, a change that would allow Obama's Democratic administration to nominate their replacements.

The court reviews cases from Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. It also has two open seats that already can be filled.

While there's no telling how many seats may open up, even a handful of vacancies would give Obama an opportunity to reshape the court's ideological bent during his second term.