Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Judicial Panel That Ordered 40,000 California Prisoners Released Was Lop-sided and Will Be Overruled

A federal judicial panel recently ordered California to release some 40,000 prisoners over the next two years, if prison medical conditions do not improve markedly. In all the reportage on the remarkable ruling, the media missed one telling point:

All three jurists on that particular panel regularly judge from the more extreme side of the liberal bench. Two of them, District Judges Lawrence Karlton and Thelton Henderson, are Jimmy Carter appointees with long and distinguished extreme liberal records on the bench. The third, federal appellate judge Stepehen Reinhardt, is among the most extreme liberal judges on the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Thus, news was made when, by the luck of the draw, a judicial panel was composed of three judges way-out-left.

No media attention was paid to the probability that such an extremely one-sided panel would be declared "tilt" on appeal.

The odds are overwhelming that a more balanced federal appellate panel will overturn the extreme ruling which, if impelemented, would convert California life overnight into scenes from a horror movie. If not overruled en banc, one would expect that the panel would be overruled by an appeal to the United States Supreme Court, unless the Supreme Court denies certiorari. But this one seems too important to be left unaddressed on appeal.

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