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Chris Field- Contributor

Chris Field is Editor of Human Events Online [go to Field index]

Absolutely Out of Touch
The 9th finds its own way...
[Chris Field] 9/22/03

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals continues to display exactly why Republicans are right in their cries to repair the court. Early last week, a three-judge panel for the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit ruled that the California recall election cannot go forward as planned because some voters would be forced to use punch-card ballot machines (Southwest Voter Registration v. Shelley). The three judges took the outrageous step of delaying a vote mandated by the California constitution, overturning the decision of District Judge Stephen Wilson who declined to delay the recall vote because it would violate the will of the voters.

Of course, outlandish rulings are far from being out of the ordinary for the liberal 9th Circuit. It was, of course, this court which declared the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional (Newdow v. U.S. Congress) and declared there to be no constitutional "right of the people to keep and bear arms" (Silveira v. Lockyer).

In fact, asinine rulings are so frequent that the 9th Circuit has become undesirably, but deservedly, well-known for its multitude of reversals from the Supreme Court and especially for a number of controversial decisions that reflect an activist court.
Check this out:

-9th Circuit decisions reviewed by the Supreme Court have been reversed about 80 to 90 percent of the time over the past seven terms; during the same period, its rulings have received an average of between 1.5 and 2.5 votes from Supreme Court Justices.

-In 1996-97, the 9th Circuit was reversed in 27 of 28 cases, 16 of which were unanimous. In 1999-2000, the 9th Circuit was reversed in 9 of 10 cases. And in 2000-2001, the Supreme Court reversed the 9th Circuit in 14 of 18 cases, 7 of which were unanimous.

-Between 1985 and 1997, the 9th Circuit was reversed in a total of 157 cases while the other 11 regional courts of appeals were reversed an average of 46 times each.

-Between 1985 and 1997, the 9th Circuit was reversed unanimously (in non-summary dispositions) a total of 38 times while the other 11 regional appellate courts averaged fewer than 10 unanimous reversals each.

There may, in fact, be a silver lining to the recall ruling by the 9th Circuit (other than the entertainment value it provides for non-Californians), perhaps it will serve to further remind people, especially conservatives currently tempted not to vote for Bush in 2004, that it is important to have a President who will nominate judges who understand the true principles of the Constitution, including the separation of powers, and refuse to legislate from the bench.

copyright 2003 Human Events



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