Bench Memos

Bad Ninth Circuit Panel for Prop 8 Appeal

The Ninth Circuit has just announced (see page 2 here) that the panel hearing the appeal of Judge Vaughn Walker’s anti-Prop 8 ruling will consist of Stephen Reinhardt, Michael D. Hawkins, and N. Randy Smith. 

As regular Bench Memos readers know, Reinhardt (appointed by President Carter in 1980) may well be the most aggressive liberal judicial activist in the nation—and the most reversed judge in history. Hawkins, a 1994 Clinton appointee, is also regularly on the Left on the Ninth Circuit. Smith, who was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2007, is much more of a judicial conservative. 

With two hard-core liberals, the panel is a fairly typical Ninth Circuit draw—which is to say, a bad one for supporters of Prop 8. 

Update: I’ve apparently understated how bad the panel draw is. A source I trust tells me that of the the 47 active and senior judges on the Ninth Circuit, there are only five or six other judges who are as aggressively and reflexively leftist as Reinhardt and Hawkins.

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