Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Horton v. Mayle (9th Cir. - May 10, 2005)

I never totally understand decisions like this one. The slip describes an opinion by Judge Rymer, an opinion by Judge Paez, and a dissent by Judge Rymer. All in the same case. Which is just a fancy way of saying that Judge Rymer wrote the first six sections of the opinion and Judge Paez wrote the seventh, as to which Judge Rymer dissented.

Why not just have Judge Paez write the whole thing, and then include Judge Rymer's partial dissent? Sure, I'm confident that Judge Rymer's clerks wrote the bench memorandum, from which the first six sections were (perhaps verbatim) derived. But so what? Just let Judge Paez use it. Or let him have his clerks write the first six sections on their own. Why make the opinion unnecessarily more complicated than a simple majority and dissent?

I'm sure that there are super-sophisticated reasons for the practice that have nothing whatsoever to do with pride of authorship and that I'm just too witless to understand. C'est la vie.