Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Edmonds v. Hammett (9th Cir. - May 25, 2006)

I'm definitely going to talk about this case at length. Which involves a probate matter filed in federal court (!) that concerns a member of an Indian tribe in a Department of Interior probate proceeding, and that revolves around whether state or federal evidence laws apply in such proceedings. Exciting!!

Just kidding. Sure, the case involves a substantial dispute, and one in which Judge O'Scannlain (who writes the majority opinion) disagrees with Judge Gould (who dissents). But come on. Not even I can get excited about whether federal or state evidence rules apply in Department of Interior will contests. And that's saying a lot. A lot.

Let me leave you only with this paragraph, a snippet from Judge Gould's dissent: "I would certify [the two dispositive issues] to the Washington State Supreme Court for its binding decision . . . . The majority dismisses certification in its footnote 10 . . . . The majority errs in its view of this certification statute. If the Washington State Supreme Court does not wish to accept a certified question, it will pass. Yet the Washington State Supreme Court, with its keen eye for discerning justice, may wish to address directly the issue . . . . [I]t is ill-advised [for the majority] to apply Washington law without such an exception before permitting the state’s highest court to step in and decide the matter for us."

As Count Rugen said to Westley: "Well-spoken, sir." Even if one disagrees with Judge Gould's conclusion, this is a nice -- and cognet -- passage.