Wednesday, February 27, 2019
In a recent decision, the Supreme Court considered the question, "May a federal court count the vote of a judge who dies
before the decision is issued?"
The facts involved a Ninth Circuit case in which the vote of Judge Stephen Reinhardt was counted as part of the majority after he had died. As explained by my colleague David Forte, "This was contrary to the rule that votes of retired or deceased judges are not counted as valid if the judge's retirement or death occurred prior to the publication of the opinion."
In its per curiam opinion (with Justice Sotomayor concurring) by, the Court declared, "[F]ederal judges are appointed for life, not eternity."
Those who study the writing styles of the Justices are wondering who penned that line. What's your guess?
Here's a link to the opinion: