Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Tchoukhrova v. Gonzales (9th Cir. - April 21, 2005)

This is the type of case that's right in the middle of Judge Reinhardt's wheelhouse. He's at his best when he's writing opinions in such cases. And he hits this one out of the park.

At issue is whether asylum can be granted to a person (and his family) when he is disabled and persecuted in his native land on that basis. Judge Reinhardt -- and this should come as a surprise to utterly no one -- holds that he can, and orders withholding of deportation. And Judges Tashima and Wardlaw agree.

The first seven pages of this opinion are masterful. They recount in detail the circumstances the surrounded the birth of this disabled child in Russia and the treatment he subsequently received. Anyone who fails to be touched by Judge Reinhardt's recitation of the facts here is entirely heartless. This is not a well-told story to which we have numbingly become accustomed. Judge Reinhardt's opinion begins with a powerful emphasis on the facts that both touches the reader's soul and provides a concrete setting in which the subsequent legal analysis that he performs is to be applied.

This is one way to write opinions that persuade. And Judge Reinhardt is a master at it. This is an outstanding piece of legal writing. It is one of Judge Reinhardt's finest opinions in a while. Great job, ex-boss.