Sometimes the Supreme Court simply decides cases and sometimes it seems to have something bigger in mind. In the past two weeks, it has been in scold mode, and its target has been the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
In five straight cases, the court has rejected the work of the San Francisco-based court without a single affirmative vote from a justice.
… As the most liberal circuit in the land, its work quite often is at odds with an increasingly conservative Supreme Court.
… Kennedy is the only veteran of the 9th Circuit on the Supreme Court and he serves as its designated justice. That Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. assigned the decision to Kennedy was another way to send a message, [University of Pittsburgh law professor Arthur D. Hellman, an authority on the federal circuits with a particular interest in the 9th] said.
… No judge more personifies the 9th Circuit's approach than 79-year-old Stephen Reinhardt, widely considered to be the nation's most liberal appeals court judge.
… Hellman said one prediction about the 9th is inevitable: "We'll see more reversals before the term is up, of that you can be sure."