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Thursday, November 16, 2006 

George Will Takes on Reinhardt

It's not a great week to be Judge Stephen Reinhardt. First, he's reversed in the first signed opinion of the term from the Court. Then, he has to deal with people like me sniping at him and his goofy jurisprudence. Now, Reinhardt has one of the top conservative columnists in the nation taking him to task. George F. Will's most recent column discusses Judge Reinhardt, the Ninth Circuit, and all the trouble they cause.

When I opened to the editorial section of today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and saw Will's column, I knew it was going to be good based on the first sentence...
There should be two Supreme Courts, one to reverse the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, the other to hear all other cases.
Calling Reinhardt a "residue of Jimmy Carter's presidency" (that's not a compliment, in case you didn't catch the tone of the text), Will criticizes Reinhardt's now-reversed opinion. He also has harsh words for the various "arcane" procedures that anti-death penalty judges have pushed into the justice system. Will also manages to summarize the facts of the case and the procedural history well.

My favorite part of the opinion piece is the end...
The Supreme Court recently heard arguments in another death penalty case. The question at issue is: Jim Studer and his parents wore a button featuring a photograph of Studer's brother during the San Jose trial of the man who murdered him 12 years ago. A circuit court's three-judge panel, divided 2 to 1, reversed the conviction, arguing that the button interfered with the defendant's receiving a fair trial because the button enunciated the "specific message" that the murdered man was "the innocent party" and that the defendant was "guilty."

The circuit court was the 9th. The author of that opinion was Reinhardt. Tidying up after it, and him, is steady work.
Reinhardt rules, the Court reverses, Reinhardt rules, the Court reverses. It's the judicial circle of life, Simba.

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