Bench Memos

Liberal Anti-Prop 8 Commentator: Reinhardt Should Recuse

In an essay that her editors seem to have mistitled, Bloomberg News columnist Ann Woolner—who celebrated Judge Walker’s ruling against Prop 8—concludes that Judge Reinhardt should have disqualified himself from the Prop 8 appeal. (The current title of the essay is “Clarence Thomas Is Model for Gay Marriage Case,” but Woolner opines that Justice Thomas properly took part in a recent decision to deny review of a case involving a challenge to Obamacare.)

For what it’s worth, I think that Woolner is wrong to treat the district-court proceedings in the Prop 8 case as though they were not part of the same overall matter as the pending appeal. (I think that it is Ramona Ripston’s involvement in those proceedings that most clearly compels Reinhardt’s disqualification.) But that makes it all the more striking that she still determines that Reinhardt should disqualify himself.


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