Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Lyon v. Gila River Indian Community (9th Cir. - Nov. 24, 2010)

This is as good of an opinion as I've seen from Judge Wallace in a long time.

It's crisp.  It's smart.  It's comprehensive.  And it's rendered in a very difficult case, one that's both fact-specific as well as incredibly doctrinally complicated.  It's about highways, easements, Indian tribes, and primary jurisdiction.  Difficult stuff.  None of which precludes Judge Wallace from writing a masterful opinion.  Well done.  Extremely.

This is, indeed, one of those few cases where the first three-quarters of the opinion are so persuasive and well-written that at the end -- where I started to be less confident of the correct result -- I totally found myself giving deference to the opinion.  On the theory that the author was so smart, and so clearly informed about this stuff, that the opinion was probably right even about stuff I wasn't all that sure about.  That virtually never happens for me.  It's a testament to the quality of the opinion that I found it happening here.

So an impressive piece of work.  I don't think that even Judge Canby -- who's "Mr. Indian Law" -- could have done better.