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Musladin Coverage: Good, Bad, and Ugly


Another Update: The SF Chron site has this picture of Jim Studer holding his button.

Update: The LA Times also has this editorial: "The 9th Circuit's deserved slap: Supreme Court rebuff in death penalty case points to a recurring problem with the appeals panel." Yes, the LA Times. "This page, which strongly opposes capital punishment, is nevertheless glad to see the 9th Circuit's wrist slapped for improperly applying the law as it is written."
David Savage in the LA Times has an article explaining how the case is about limits on the federal courts, not deciding the underlying question. Linda Greenhouse reports on the case in the NYT, discussing the underlying Williams and Flynn precedents and the private-public conduct distinction.

The usually reliable Wall Street Journal has this blurb in its "What's News" column on page 1: "The Supreme Court decided unanimously that displays by spectators of buttons with victims' photos don't deprive murder suspects of fair trials." I realize that the WSJ doesn't care much about crime unless it's the tailor-made silk collar variety, but if you're going to report it, report it right. The case doesn't resolve the underlying question.

Tony Mauro gets it right in the text of his Legal Times article, but the headline writer does not. (Headlines are generally not written by the reporters, and they are a major source of misinformation.) Over at the SF Chron, the headline writer says the Ninth lacked "jurisdiction," a word that does not appear in John Coté's article.

Short reports by Orin Kerr at the Volokh Conspiracy and Doug Berman at SL&P have produced heated debate in the comments. One commenter on the latter reliably comes forth with the last refuge of losing lefty arguments. When all else fails, compare the other side with the Nazis.


Good for the LA Times editorial board. The one criticism I'd level at the editorial is that it does not really see Musladin as part of a pattern of abuse of its habeas power and that the abuse is not by the court as a whole, but rather by a few judges, notably Reinhardt, Paez, Berzon and a few others.

The Supreme Court deserves criticism as well. While it is great that it overturns some egregious Ninth Circuit cases, it has not done much to deal with the fact that some Ninth Circuit judges simply are refusing to follow the law. The categorical imperative should be that the states comprising the Ninth should not be subject to the indignity having their convictions reviewed by judges who simply cannot follow AEDPA.

Here's the take of the NY Times editorial page:


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