Carlos T. Bea

Chief Judge Alex Kozinski

Conservative and libertarian judges on the Ninth Circuit — yes, they exist — have been showing the East Coast a lot of love lately. Last month, my former boss, Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain, delivered the Joseph Story Distinguished Lecture at the Heritage Foundation (an excellent speech that you can watch here). Later this week, Judge O’Scannlain and one of his colleagues, Judge Carlos Bea, will make appearances at the Federalist Society’s National Lawyers Convention.

And yesterday, the ringmaster of the Ninth Circuit himself, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, delivered a talk at Yale Law School entitled “The Immigrant Experience and Judging.” He spoke to a packed house in YLS’s largest classroom.

Here are some highlights from his remarks….

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Chief Judge Alex Kozinski speaking at Yale Law School last year.

Perhaps this should be “benchslap of a few days ago,” since it happened last week. But it’s never too late to read about Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, right?

This latest benchslap involves the Ninth Circuit setting aside a murder conviction. So you might expect the benchslap to be coming from a unanimous Supreme Court in a summary reversal.

But no. The benchslap — actually, make that benchslaps, plural — come from the Ninth Circuit. On the receiving end: the police, prosecutors, a state judge, and a federal judge. Names are named.

And I wouldn’t hold my breath while waiting for SCOTUS to reverse. This decision looks pretty safe….

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Judge Stephen Reinhardt (left) and Judge Robert Jones

Will 2012 go down as the Summer of Feuding Judges? Over the past few months, we’ve been covering the feud in print between Judge Richard Posner and Justice Antonin Scalia.

And yesterday we wrote about the harsh smackdown by Judge Stephen Reinhardt (9th Cir.) of Chief Judge Robert C. Jones (D. Nevada). Today we’ve got Jones’s rebuttal, which is just as heated. It’s unusual to see a lower-court judge criticizing a judge higher up in the judicial hierarchy, but reverse benchslaps do happen.

How does Judge Jones feel about being called unacceptably arrogant? Let’s just say he responded in kind…

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Judge Reinhardt and me, perfect together.

Such arrogance and assumption of power by one individual is not acceptable in our judicial system.

– Judge Stephen Reinhardt, concurring, in Townley v. Miller. A Ninth Circuit panel stayed a district court’s preliminary injunction order in a case involving Nevada’s “none of these candidates” ballot option.

(More about this interesting and politically charged case, after the jump.)

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Judge Carlos Bea

Judge Carlos Bea is one of my favorite members of the Ninth Circuit. He’s refreshingly conservative, on a famously (or infamously) liberal court. He has a fascinating personal history; how many federal judges can claim they were almost deported? He has an ancestral home — some call it a castle — in Spain, which he sometimes makes available to vacationing law clerks. And he tools about town in a vintage Rolls-Royce (which, rumor has it, he received as payment for legal work before he took the bench).

Well, it looks like one assistant U.S. attorney has some expensive tire marks on his back. Check out the epic benchslap that Judge Bea just dished out — not just to the poor prosecutor, but to the United States Department of Justice….

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