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Saunders on USCA9 Reversals

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Debra Saunders, resident person of sense on the SF Chron's opinion pages, has this column on the recent string of unanimous reversals of the Ninth Circuit by the Supreme Court.  She covers Premo v. Moore, Harrington v. Richter, and Swarthout v. Cooke, previously discussed on this blog, and also a civil case, Chase Bank v. McCoy

Four times this month the U.S. Supreme Court has slapped down the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Four times the Big Bench unanimously reversed Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decisions. Unanimous is a big deal. It means that there's no left-right political divide in the Big Bench's findings - just right on the law and wrong on the law.
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It's odd. When there is an opening on the Supreme Court, the Senate examines in detail whether nominees have the proper respect for past Supreme Court rulings. Sen. Dianne Feinstein is quite particular on that score. But in San Francisco, the Ninth Circuit doesn't seem to care what the U.S. Supreme Court writes. And it's OK.

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How much blame does SCOTUS deserve for the Ninth Circuit's obvious issues? It's not like the flouting of AEDPA is anything new. Neither is the Ninth's assumption of the role of California's super parole board. At some point, perhaps, the solution is for SCOTUS to start reassigning some of these cases to other circuits.

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