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Supreme Court Reversals Deliver A Dressing-Down To The Liberal 9th Circuit

Publication Date: 
January 31, 2011
The Washington Post
Robert Barnes

The Washington Post's Robert Barnes interviewed Professor Jeffrey L. Fisher in the following article on the U.S. Supreme Court's recent criticism of decisions rendered by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit:

Sometimes the Supreme Court simply decides cases, and sometimes it seems to have something bigger in mind. In the past two weeks it has been in scold mode, and its target has been the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

In five straight cases, the court has rejected the work of the San Francisco-based court without a single affirmative vote from a justice. The nation's largest court, stretching from Montana to Hawaii, the 9th has jurisdiction over nearly 20 percent of the nation's citizens. Not surprisingly, it routinely supplies the largest portion of the cases the court reviews each term.


Stanford Law School professor Jeffrey L. Fisher , who argues before both courts, said he does not believe 9th Circuit judges are trying to "flout" the decisions of the Supreme Court. But he acknowledges a difference in approach that often leads to reversals.


Fisher, a former Reinhardt clerk, defends his old boss. No appellate judge acts alone, he notes, and the cases the Supreme Court criticized contained a unanimous panel decision and one opinion affirmed by the 9th sitting en banc.