Monday, October 31, 2005

U.S. v. Heredia (9th Cir. - Oct. 24, 2005)

Judge Kozinski's dissents often crush the majority opnion. He's so smart, his writing is so incredibly good, and his analytical attacks are so concise and pointed that you often come away from reading his dissent with the feeling that not only is he right, but that his analysis also totally dominates the majority.

But not this time. Here, Judge Kozinski dissents to an opinion written by Judge Bybee. But, this time, Judge Bybee's opinion is both more persuasive and better written and then Judge Kozinski's dissent. Judge Bybee essentially out Kozinski's Kozinski in this one.

So this one is definitely worth a read. Sure, Judge Kozinski's dissent is well-written, and in his usual colloquial (and easy to read) style. And, as usual, he doesn't shy away from directly attacking the majority opinion. But, this time, Judge Bybee's opinion is even better, and does the same things that the dissent does, but does them more cogently and more persuasively. It's really quite a good opinion, and all the better for how it directly and powerfully responds to the dissent.

So an impressive performance by Judge Bybee. And, by the way, a strikingly smart panel: Judges Bybee, Willie Fletcher, and Kozinski. Thar's some darn sharp tools in that shed.

P.S. - Yes, yes. I know. On occasion, I'm sure I sound like a hack. Here I am saying how impressive Judge Bybee is. Just as I did here and here. And, yes, maybe my compliments of Judge Kozinski (see, e.g., here and here) are a similarly well-worn refrain as well. But the truth's the truth. Plus, it's not that I like (or agree with) everything these two conservative jurists do; for example, here. I merely call them as I see them.