Department of “Huh?”: LA Times 9th Circuit Reporting

I don’t particularly understand what prompted this article in the LA Times on the 9th Circuit.

If I were a suspicious conservative, I might suspect that it was an attempt by the liberal media to rally the troops in preparation for confirmation battles. However, I don’t see this as being particularly effective in that regard (and if the goal was to arrest the conservative trend, then the article was needed years ago to rally opposition to Bush appointments.)

Frankly, given the current and future openings on the court, it seems strange to describe the court at ‘trending conservative’ – that trend is very likely to be reversed in the relatively short term. Especially if the court is expanded, as it should be, to reflect its increased work-load, allowing Obama to appoint a full quarter of the judges.

More importantly, though, the article is all over the place. It discusses dissents from denial of rehearing en banc. It mentions briefly and in passing Bybee’s role in authorizing torture, but has no comment. It uncritically accepts conservative arguments that the traditionally liberal bent of the court is encouraging forum shopping, as if forum shopping wasn’t a major component of the justice system in general and as if there isn’t similar forum shopping in, say, the 4th Circuit.

I don’t really see how this kind of poorly explained judicial reporting sufficiently informs the public to participate in debates over judicial reform and judicial appointments.

Addendum: Credit where credit is due, they do refer to Bybee as authorizing “torture” instead of “enhanced interrogation techniques.” It is good to see the media using the word torture in a straight reporting piece.

Published in: on April 19, 2009 at 11:08 am  Leave a Comment  
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