Monday, July 28, 2008

Moore v. Czerniak (9th Cir. - July 28, 2008)

As they say at the outset of Celebrity Deathmatch: "Let's get it on." And that's precisely what the respective authors do here. In a wicked smackdown that's virtually without parallel.

I naturally hesitate to recommend to anyone to read through a series of opinions in a single case that, in total, span over a hundred single-spaced pages. But this is an exception. It's a tour de force. Filled with the type of no-holds-barred language and attacks that are utterly classic.

It took the authors over three years to write this one: the oral argument was in March 2005, and the opinions came out only today. You gotta admire the effort. As well as the final product. I defy anyone to find a better example in which the authors go totally all out to unhesitatingly respond to, attack, and otherwise slam the crap out of the contrary beliefs of their colleagues. Even if you don't have the stomach to read the whole 100 pages of diatribes, at least read the footnotes of both the majority opinion and dissent. As well as Appendix A of the majority opinion, which is devoted exclusively -- and I've never seen this before -- to yet more slams on the dissent. Fantastic. Classic.

The majority opinion is written by Judge Reinhardt. No surprise there. Not a guy to hold his tongue. Or to suffer what he considers to be foolish reasoning in silence. His opinion is almost fully joined by Judge Berzon, who also writes a concurring opinion that's doctrinally interesting in its own right, and also manifests a tone that is quite a bit different than both the majority and dissent. The dissent, in turn, is written by Judge Bybee. Not a massive surprise there either. Judge Bybee doesn't hesitate to take others to task when he feels they are deserving. And does so here in spades.

I thought about providing selected exemplars of colleague-to-colleague slams from the footnotes, but I would simply be doing them injustice. You gotta read the stuff yourself.

We all know that judges occasionally -- indeed, often -- pull punches because they have to work with (and, at times, hope to persuade) the judge on the other side in a large number of other cases. That ain't happening here. You get Judges Reinhardt and Bybee in their full, unvarished truth. And I love it. Absolutely love it.

Don't let me down. Read the footnotes. And feel the love.