Supreme Court Ruling Has Major Implications for Liberal Ninth Circuit

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was wrong to count the vote of a deceased judge in an important pay equity case, the Supreme Court ruled Monday.

The high court’s decision was “per curiam” meaning “for the Court.” Such decisions are not signed. There were no noted dissents.

The case arose when the late Judge Stephen Reinhardt, a revered liberal jurist who died in March 2018, was listed as the author of a decision for a specially-composed 11 judge panel issued a week after his death.

“The 9th Circuit erred in counting him as a member of the majority,” the high court’s decision reads. “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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