9th Circuit Court News News - U.S. Ninth Circuit
U.S. Ninth Circuit - The FindLaw 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Recently in Court News Category

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Judge John Owens.

We've followed Owens' nomination since August, when President Barack Obama nominated him along with a fellow Munger, Tolles & Olson partner and fellow Stanford alum, Michelle T. Friedland, to the bench. While Friedland's nomination is still pending, Owens was confirmed earlier this week, much to the chagrin of Idaho's Republican senators.

What should you know about Owens? And why was his nomination semi-controversial? Read on:

This week is set to be a busy one for en banc review for the Ninth Circuit.

With the "Innocence of Muslims" YouTube stay and California's concealed carry laws on the line, the 11-judge panel may have a lot on its mind.

If they decide to hear the issues, that is.

Thanks to this week's big news in the Smithkline Beecham case, where the Ninth Circuit held that gays are protected by a heightened form of scrutiny, a full report of retired Judge Richard Cebull's misconduct, which was released on the eve of the holiday weekend, got swept under the rug.

We missed out on misconduct? Say it ain't so. Lets take a closer look, shall we?

What can one say about the Ninth Circuit? The rest of the nation, my former black-robed employer included, thinks that we're a bit looney. And the Circuit constantly contends for the "most reversed by SCOTUS" title.

Guilty as charged. But at least we have fun (and sunshine) while doing it. Here is just some of the fun that we had this year:

How great would it be if all landmark cases were streamed online? Everyone, from lawyers, to high schools students in a civics class, could see how the court system works.

We aren't there yet, at least in most courts. The Supreme Court refuses to allow cameras in the courtroom, either for live streaming, television broadcasts, or for online archiving. Heck, they only release audio recordings once a week.

But the Ninth Circuit, as they have done in the past, is pushing ahead with technology, and will begin to live stream en banc rehearings as early as next week, reports Politico.

The Munger, Tolles, and Olson Twins, John Owens of Los Angeles and Michelle Friedland of San Francisco, both BigLaw partners, Stanford alums, and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals nominees, are back in the spotlight. We covered their initial nomination back in August, but now that they are getting closer to confirmation, the candidates' disclosures are being made public.

And while Owens was set for a confirmation hearing today, he has since been bumped to next week, along with a handful of other nominees.

Munger, Tolles & Olson better watch your back, President Obama is continuing his raid on your partners. After an MTO partner, Paul Watford, was nominated and confirmed for the Ninth Circuit last year, President Obama doubled-down this year, nominating two more of the firm’s partners to the circuit court bench, per a press release from the White House.

Their MTO connection isn’t the only thing John B. Owens and Michelle T. Friedland have in common — they both share the Stanford pedigree. Freidland earned both her undergraduate and law degrees from Stanford University, sneaking a Fulbright scholarship to Oxford in between her Cardinal-colored degrees. Owens, on the other hand, went straight from the University of California, Berkeley to Stanford Law (a house divided as we say here in Nor Cal).

Lets play a word association game. What are the first things you think of when you hear "Ninth Circuit"?

Liberal. Western. Reversals.

The Ninth's reputation precedes it, and with the results of the recent spate of Supreme Court decisions, it may have reclaimed it's title as the most reversed circuit court in America (though the Sixth is certainly putting up a good fight).

In December, the ABA Journal stated that the Sixth Circuit had surpassed the infamous Ninth as the most reversed court, with an 81.6 percent reversal rate since the fall of 2005. The Ninth Circuit, which held the second-place spot, was reversed in "only" 78.1 percent of cases.

If you are a practicing attorney in California, you’ve seen what the budget apocalypse has done to the state courts. Some courthouses have closed in the name of “consolidation,” case numbers no longer match the courts, and lawyers and clients are driving all over Los Angeles before finding the correct venue.

The Federal system isn’t in quite as much distress, but it isn’t exactly thriving either. Sequestration measures are wreaking havoc on certain services provided by the judicial branch. A news release from the Ninth Circuit on Wednesday stated the problem as:

Lucky us. Across this fine nation, there are 84 vacancies in federal courts, 68 in U.S. District Courts, and 16 on U.S. Courts of Appeal, according to the fine folks at Courthouse News Service. If you've been following judicial appointments at all in the past couple years, you'll recognize that even when an appointment is made, the Senate refuses to confirm.

Good old gridlock.

Superior Court Judge Beverly Reid O'Connell finally cleared that gridlock on her second trip through the Senate confirmation process, by a vote of 92-0. That unanimous margin itself illustrates how uncontroversial her appointment was and how ridiculous things are in Washington D.C. The American Bar Association rated her "Unanimously Well Qualified" as well.