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Judicial Reform Third Circuit

United States Court of Appeals: 3rd Circuit

Leans Pro Government
Total Judgeships: 

14 (1 vacancy)

Political Makeup: 

8 Dem – 5 GOP

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, the Virgin Islands


About The Court:

The Third Circuit Court was established on June 16, 1891 and is known to handle influential commercial cases due to its jurisdiction over Delaware where the majority of America’s publicly traded companies are incorporated.


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Precedent Checks Judicial Overreach

Mon, 04/07/2014

Herron v. Governor of Pennsylvania: Four state judges claimed that a provision of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Constitution violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, which says that the laws of a state must treat all individuals in similar situations and circumstances in the same manner. The provision requires all state judges to retire at the age of 70.


The Third Circuit Court dismissed the complaint. In Malmed v. Thornburgh, it was determined that this provision did not violate the Equal Protection Clause. The four judges argued that recent US Supreme Court decisions forced reconsideration of Malmed v. Thornburgh. The Court maintained that, while these decisions are from a higher court, neither case was directly related to the provision. Therefore, Malmed v. Thornburgh remained the controlling precedent.

Read the full decision here

Sports Betting Blocked in NJ

Tue, 09/17/2013

NCAA et al. v. Governor of New Jersey et al.: After New Jersey's attempt to issue licensing to allow gambling on sports games and events, the NCAA, NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLB filed suit against the state on the grounds that the licensing law violates the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA). New Jersey argues that Congress overstepped its power in creating PASPA in the first place.


The 3rd Circuit Court ruled that PASPA is constitutional and thus enforceable. As a result, the New Jersey law to license sport gambling is in violation of the law. This decision was brought on appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States which decided to not take on the case, thus affirming the Circuit Court’s ruling.

Read the full decision here