Man Without Qualities

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

Contempt of Court

Yesterday, in three unanimous decisions and without bothering to hear arguments, the United States Supreme Court reversed the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals - in two cases reinstating convictions and in a third case reversing a grant of asylum to a Guatemalan immigrant.

Three unanimous reversals of a Circuit Court without argument in a single day is almost certainly a first for the Supreme Court. Such high court actions are not just taking care of business. Rather, the Supreme Court is sending a conscious, intentional, non-partisan message to the Ninth Circuit: we think you on the Ninth Circuit are crummy, arrogant, partisan judges. It is especially important to note that the Supreme Court acted unanimously here - there is no hint of a partisan political aganda in the high court decisions. The Ninth Circuit thinks it's writing about important things in its silly decisions that defy everything from Supreme Court precedent, to common sense to federal statutes. But it looks like the high court has simply decided that the Ninth Circuit indulgence of its numerous "head case" judges has just become a huge, banal, tedious administrative problem.

And nobody - least of all the Ninth Circuit judges - should think that this is the end of the Supreme Court program. With the Ninth Circuit reporter crammed with ludicrous decisions such as the its recent demolition of a federal rule imposing administrative sanctions on doctors who recommend illegal marijuana use by their patients, the Supreme Court is preparing to aim lots of heavy artillery at this coast.

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