Law360 Quotes Rex Heinke in Profile of 9th Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt
For its profile “The Lion In Winter: Judge Stephen Reinhardt,” Law360 spoke with Akin Gump appellate practice head Rex Heinke on the 9th Circuit judge with a reputation for liberalism.
Heinke noted that the judge’s seniority will allow him to decide who writes the opinion on cases before him and that Judge Reinhardt’s desire to pen the opinion in rulings involving important social issues—as he did in the circuit’s 2-1 decision declaring California’s Proposition 8 unconstitutional—makes it likely that the 83-year-old jurist will not be taking senior status soon.
Heinke also said that the judge’s interest and willingness to address controversial issues is one of the reasons that his reputation as an “agenda-drive jurist” is overstated: “If you get beyond the hot-button social cases, he's a reasonably moderate judge. But most cases that involve, say, business litigation, aren’t going to get any public attention. It’s kind of like the problem of people saying all media reports are about bad news and plane crashes. Who's interested in ‘another plane landed safely at LAX today’?”
He added, “I think most people say he's this great liberal and must be a liberal about everything—and there's no doubt his predilection is that way—but I think on a vast majority of cases you wouldn't notice a radical difference between his views and other judges'.”
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