The Ninth Circuit Outdoes Itself: NRO

Bench Memos:

Once again, the Supreme Court has unanimously reversed the Ninth Circuit.  Once again, it has done so in a case in which the Ninth Circuit granted habeas relief.  But what may be unique (and must surely be rare) about today’s ruling in Knowles v. Mirzayance is that the Supreme Court had already previously vacated the Ninth Circuit’s earlier grant of habeas relief and that the Ninth Circuit panel nonetheless issued an unpublished opinion reaching the same result.  It’s also worth noting that the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that habeas relief was improper even under a de novo standard of review (that is, even apart from the very deferential review of state-court decisions that a federal statute-AEDPA-ordinarily commands).

The judicial culprits this time are Carter appointee Procter Hug and Clinton appointee Kim McLane Wardlaw.  (Wardlaw is sometimes mentioned as a Supreme Court candidate, primarily because she is half Mexican-American.)  The third member of the panel-a district judge sitting by designation-dissented.

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