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Reversing USCA9

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Carol Williams has this story in the LAT on the Ninth Circuit's numerous reversals by the US Supreme Court.

It was another bruising year for the liberal judges of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals as the Supreme Court overturned the majority of their decisions, at times sharply criticizing their legal reasoning.
Appeals from the nine Western states of the circuit dominated the high court's docket, as usual, supplying more than 30% of the 84 cases taken up by the justices during the term that ended last month.
The Supreme Court reversed or vacated 19 of the 26 decisions it looked at from the 9th Circuit this judicial term, issuing especially pointed critiques of the court's handling of cases involving prisoners' rights and death row reprieves.

Although the proportion of reversals was relatively in line with past years and other appellate circuits across the country, the 9th Circuit was often out of step even with the high court's liberal justices, who joined with the conservatives in 12 unanimous rulings.

In their reversals, the justices often expressed impatience with what they see as stubborn refusal by the lower court to follow Supreme Court precedent. One of the circuit's most renowned liberals, Judge Stephen Reinhardt, was seen by judicial analysts as the main target of the justices' pique.
I'm glad to see that comment about unanimous reversals.  That, in my mind, has been the great underreported story.  Erwin Chemerinsky overstates the case about reversal rates:

"Reversal rates have no meaning whatsoever," said Chemerinsky. "If the Supreme Court overrules the 9th Circuit, it doesn't mean that the 9th Circuit was wrong and the Supreme Court was right. It means the Supreme Court had the last word."
Of course reversal rates have some meaning.  They just don't have as much as is commonly believed.  The number of unanimous reversals, though, means far more.  Twelve cases where not a single one of the nine Justices thought the Ninth was correct is a staggeringly bad record.

Judge Reinhardt comments for the story, and his comment is characteristically disingenuous:

The Supreme Court's conservative majority has been changing the law in habeas corpus and other constitutional protections, but the circuits have to follow existing law until those changes are explicit, Reinhardt said.

"It would be easy not to get reversed if you just tried to guess what five of nine justices were going to say about the case," he said. "If you follow the law the way it is, before they change it, you're going to get reversed."
Complete hogwash.  By no stretch of the imagination was the Ninth Circuit decision in any of the unanimously reversed cases merely following existing Supreme Court caselaw.

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