Wednesday, October 15, 2014

C.B. v. City of Sonora (9th Cir. - Oct. 15, 2014)

This is one way to write an en banc opinion.

But it's a mess.

Judge Paez authors the "majority" opinion.  But there's not a majority for "Part II.C.1.".  For the Ninth Circuit's holding on that issue, you've got to look to Judge Milan Smith's opinion that concurs in part and dissents in part.  Because Judge Smith has a total of four votes (including his own) for his proposed disposition, and then he gets three others (Judges Kozinski, Graber, and Gould) -- a total of seven -- to join that particular portion of his disposition.

So you've got to skip around opinions to find the actual holdings.

For The Three, Judge Gould writes a concurring opinion (for himself and Judges Kozinski and Graber) explaining their theory.  Then Judge Berzon -- joined by Judge Thomas -- write another concurring opinion explaining that they join in Judge Paez's majority opinion, except for one of the claims therein, as to which they agree with his result but not his reasoning.

As a result, it's a classic 2-4-3-2 Ninth Circuit en banc split.

Sarcasm intended.