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‘Liberal’ Reputation Precedes Ninth Circuit Court

Publication Date: 
April 23, 2010
Source: 
The New York Times
Author: 
John Schwartz

Lecturer Thomas Goldstein is quoted in this article on the reputation United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. John Schwartz of the New York Times reports:

When President Obama earlier this year nominated Goodwin Liu, a liberal Berkeley law professor, to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, conservatives did not just criticize Mr. Liu — they also attacked the circuit court he hopes to join.

Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama and the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, called the circuit “an activist court that has handed down decisions striking ‘under God’ from the Pledge of Allegiance and finding Megan’s Law to be unconstitutional.”

It is a familiar refrain. Those cases and others have been part of a longstanding argument that the court is out of touch with the nation’s political and judicial mainstream. It has long been a favorite target of ridicule among Republicans: Rush Limbaugh refers to the court, headquartered in San Francisco, as the “Ninth Circus,” and many bloggers call it the “nutty Ninth.”

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Tom Goldstein, an expert on the Supreme Court, said there was “no evidence of the Ninth Circuit being out of control or of the Supreme Court thinking it is out of control.” He said that there were “old-school, Carter-era liberal appointees on that court who are out of step with the current Supreme Court and are quite strong willed.” He added that those judges “get a lot of attention from the justices” of a Supreme Court that has itself moved significantly to the right over the years.