• Tyler Brooks

The Limits Of An Appointment For Life

This blog focuses on how to protect the legacy of clients, but Monday brought a statement from the U.S. Supreme Court about how much legacy a federal judge may have.

In Yovina v. Rizo, the Supreme Court was asked to consider whether the Ninth Circuit properly counted the vote of one of its judges (the late Stephen Reinhardt) in an en banc determination after the judge had already passed away.

The Supreme Court held that the Ninth Circuit erred in counting the vote of the late judge. In a pithy conclusion to its per curiam opinion, the Court said:

"Because Judge Reinhardt was no longer a judge at the time when the en banc decision in this case was filed, the Ninth Circuit erred in counting him as a member of the majority. That practice effectively allowed a deceased judge to exercise the judicial power of the United States after his death. But federal judges are appointed for life, not for eternity."

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