Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

This Day in Liberal Judicial Activism—October 27

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2020—A divided Ninth Circuit panel rules (in Cortesluna v. Leon) that the district court wrongly determined that a police officer was entitled to qualified immunity on a claim that he used excessive force in making an arrest. The majority concludes that “existing precedent squarely governs the specific facts of this case,” but Judge Daniel P. Collins in dissent observes that the facts in that supposedly precedential case are “materially distinguishable from this case”: “There is a very significant difference between using a knee to hold down a person who is suspected of a serious violent crime who is armed with a knife (as in this case) and using a knee to hold down a noisy neighbor armed with nothing more than a sandwich (as in [the precedent cited by the majority]).”

In October 2021, the Supreme Court, citing Collins’s dissent with approval, will summarily reverse the Ninth Circuit ruling.

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