Ninth Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt passed yesterday afternoon. Whether you agreed with his perspective or not, he was a principled and brilliant judge.
Reinhardt, an appointee of former President Carter, was dubbed the “liberal lion” of the federal circuit courts.
His rulings in favor of criminal defendants, minorities and immigrants were often overturned by the more conservative U.S. Supreme Court.
And his opinions were, occasionally, reversed.
Many lawyers have joked that Reinhardt’s name on a ruling was probably enough to get the attention of the conservatives on the Supreme Court. In 1996, after Reinhardt was reversed several times by the Supreme Court, The Times asked him if he was upset.
“Not in the slightest!” he boomed. “If they want to take away rights, that’s their privilege. But I’m not going to help them do it.”
Thank you for your adherence to principle. Rest in peace, Judge Reinhardt.