Thursday, November 01, 2007

Medley v. Runnels (9th Cir. - Nov. 1, 2007)

Judge Ikuta stakes out some ground today. By being on the bottom side of a 14-1 en banc decision. In which she wants to show everyone that she's more conservative -- at least in habeas cases -- than the rest of the en banc court. Which says a lot. Especially since this particular panel includes, among others, Judges Clifton, Callahan, Bybee, etc.

For what it's worth, I don't think that Judge Ikuta comes off very good in this one. Her arguments seem fairly weak, and especially in places, a fair piece of a results-oriented stretch to find as many procedural obstacles to relief as possible.

Admittedly, Judge Ikuta does a decent job at the end of her dissent of making her position seem somewhat moderate, stating that "[a]ll this is not to say that the majority’s view is unreasonable." But you sort of have to say that when you're on the wrong side of a 14-1, right? So while that concession is right, and reasonable, I still don't think this is the best opinion -- or even dissent -- she's written. Though if the point is merely to point out to conservatives how right-leaning you are ("Elevate me, baby!"), writing this dissent -- a year into your tenure, no less -- is a pretty good way to do it.