Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

Thwarting Reinhardt’s “Putsch”


One year ago, in what Chief Judge Alex Kozinski’s dissent labeled an “Article III putsch,” Ninth Circuit outlaw Stephen Reinhardt issued a 77-page opinion that would have placed the Department of Veterans Affairs’ mental health treatment and disability compensation programs under the direct supervision of a federal district judge. Today, an en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit reversed Reinhardt by a 10-1 vote, a margin that is all the more noteworthy in light of the fact that all five Clinton appointees on the panel—yes, even Reinhardt’s usual ally, Judge Sidney Thomas—voted against Reinhardt. (Only Reinhardt’s fellow Carter appointee, Judge Mary Schroeder, dissented from the en banc ruling.)


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