The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, headquartered in San Francisco, is a U.S. federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the district courts in western states, Alaska, and Hawaii. The court is by far the largest of the thirteen courts of appeals, with 29 active judgeships. The court's regular meeting places are Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and Pasadena, but panels of the court occasionally travel to hear cases in other locations within its territorial jurisdiction. The large size of the current court is due to the fact that both the population of the western states and the geographic jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit have increased dramatically since Congress created it in 1891. The cultural and political makeup of the Ninth Circuit is just as varied as the land within its geographical borders. Despite this, one frequent criticism of the Ninth Circuit is its alleged political liberalism. The large size of the court is another unique characteristic; there are periodic calls to split the court into two smaller circuits.