Supreme Court says vote of dead ‘progressive icon’ judge does not count
“Federal judges are appointed for life, not for eternity.”
Fox News – The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that the decisive vote in a California pay dispute case before a lower court doesn’t count — because the vote came from a judge who died before the ruling was issued.
The case from the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals involved a dispute over pay filed by a Fresno County government employee.
Judge Stephen Reinhardt, who was seen as a progressive icon on the bench, heard the dispute and participated in a preliminary vote.
The appeals court then issued an opinion in his name nine days after he passed away in March 2018.
But the high court, vacating the decision of a federal appeals court, said Monday that “federal judges are appointed for life, not for eternity.”
“The upshot is that Judge Reinhardt’s vote made a difference,” said the Supreme Court in its unsigned ruling. “Was that lawful?”
The justices said it was not. “Because Judge Reinhardt was no longer a judge at the time when the decision was filed, the 9th Circuit erred in counting him as a member.”
The Supreme Court itself follows the same practice …
Reinhardt was one of the longest-serving federal judges when he died at age 87.
Reinhardt died of a heart attack last year, the court spokesperson said. Read more.