Another Slapdown of Sixth Circuit on Habeas

by Ed Whelan

The far-left Democratic appointees on the Ninth Circuit have earned attention over the years from all their reversals in the Supreme Court. But, at least on a per-judge basis, the Democratic appointees on the Sixth Circuit seem to be doing their best—or is it their worst?—to match them.

Today, in Burt v. Titlow, the Supreme Court unanimously reversed a Sixth Circuit opinion that had granted habeas relief to a state prisoner who claimed to have been deprived of effective assistance of counsel during plea bargaining. (The Sixth Circuit panel was divided, with two Democratic appointees in the majority and a Republican appointee in dissent.) In the lead opinion for eight justices, Justice Alito faults the Sixth Circuit for failing to apply the “doubly deferential” standard of review required of such claims.

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