The Ninth Circuit's Activist Midwinter Meeting

The liberal-dominated federal court of appeals lets its partisan and ideological freak flags fly.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

A friend passed along the schedule for the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals official 2019 mid-winter meeting. Among other things, the meeting includes both a keynote speech and a breakout session featuring the ACLU's deputy legal director, a session run by transgender activists, and a panel featuring a discussion of hate speech, offensive speech and "triggering" speech. The range of academic perspectives featured at the conference ranges from the very liberal Robert Post to the very liberal Erwin Chemerinsky. The keynote address is about Confederate monuments, a hot issue on the activist left but literally rather far afield for the West Coast-based Ninth Circuit. There's even a panel on Russian cyberattacks on U.S. government institutions. Given the context of the Mueller investigation, it's hard to see this entirely as a response to concern about potential targeting of the judiciary.

None of these panels would be particularly noteworthy as one panel among a host of ideologically neutral or balanced panels more directly related to the Ninth Circuit's work. But altogether the agenda reads more like the agenda of an activist organization than a federal judicial institution.

The Ninth Circuit has the right to run its meetings however it chooses, I doubt that federal judges are prone to be swayed by presentations at their meetings, and I wouldn't see a problem if this was the agenda of a private organization that invited judges to attend such a conference. Moreover, it was probably only a handful of Ninth Circuit judges who had a role in planning this event in cooperation with the Federal Judicial Center. But as VC readers are undoubtedly aware, President Trump has engaged in a series of unseemly and generally unwarranted attacks on the partisan neutrality of the judiciary. This is a poor time for the Ninth Circuit to be giving his ilk ammunition.

UPDATE: Compare and contrast the Tenth Circuit's most recent conference.

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  1. More fodder for Trumps Twitter feed. Honestly, I would be sympathetic and outraged when Trump attacks the judiciary, except for the fact that they really bring it on themselves with an agenda like this. I have to wonder who thought this was a good idea, whether it was run by higher ups, and why whomever thought it was a good idea still has a job. Actually, they have made a mockery of Roberts attempts to make the judiciary seem less partisan.

    1. These sorts of things are held at law school campuses. Some law students get to assist with the actual running of the thing, and everyone is “encouraged” to sit in the galleries open to the public.

      They’re not as partisan as someone or someones would like you to believe.

      1. Yeah, its only the Ninth Circuit, where all the liberals go forum shopping for nice decision wrapped in a bow. It’s not like this creates the appearance of selective access to certain judges with the opportunity to influence those decisions or anything. Nope, nothing to see here, move along.

        1. Does it equally bother you when conservatives also forum-shop, to have their cases heard in front of conservative courts? I think it might bolster your credibility if you also point out that many many (many many many) parties do the exact same thing, and it’s not at all a partisan and/or liberal/Democrat phenomenon.

          1. Some of the Conspirators clerked for the right-wing judges that conservatives hope to draw in litigation designed to advance Republican-conservative positions. They’re just as likely to address that point as they are to comment about Trump’s misadventures.

          2. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

            Sometimes you need to make an example of bad behavior so the rest go back and quietly adjust theirs as well.

        2. ” Nope, nothing to see here, move along.”

          Pretty much.

      2. They may not be as partisan as someone would like us to believe but they are certainly more partisan than they would like us to believe.

        1. How many judicial conferences have you been to?

          1. I believe he is referring to the Judges themselves. Ninth circuit seems to have their very own constitution that differs from everyone elses.

    2. Or, Trump is right (which he is).

      1. You’d think, based on broken-clock analogy, that he’d have been right about SOMETHING by now.

    3. “… they have made a mockery of Roberts attempts to make the judiciary seem less partisan.”

      Robert’s attempt to gaslight us was a self-clowning that the 9th Circuits behavior in this instance can scarcely add to.

  2. What’s the source for this information?

    1. Other than this article, there doesn’t seem to be a single mention anywhere on the internet that “the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals official 2019 mid-winter meeting” is actually a thing that exists.

      1. Simple Google search shows that this is a real thing that’s gone on for decades, and people seem to have put on their cv. Past topics seemed very dry, like writing seminars and statistics for appellate judges. But I am pretty sure succinct writing and empirical evidence are all trigger words in the legal profession these days. I have no doubt that

        1. Would you mind posting one of these links that can be found via a simple Google search? Because I’m not finding them.

      2. “Circuit Workshops for U.S. Appellate and District Judges

        Workshops for appellate and district judges of individual circuits are planned by the Circuit Judicial Education Planning Committees in consultation with the Federal Judicial Center. Emphasis is placed on topics of particular interest to judges of the circuit. The Center hosts national workshops for U.S. district judges in alternate years.” http://www.fjc.gov/education/programs…..ces-judges

        Also note, “The Center receives an annual appropriation from Congress, which funds its operations.” https://www.fjc.gov/about

  3. Seriously?

    If they do nothing, Trump tweets, attacking the judiciary. If they do something, Trump tweets, attacking the judiciary.

    It’s pretty obvious that their actions are irrelevant to Trump’s tweeting. So they may as well do what they want to do.

    1. No. The appearance of bias is, for outward purposes, the dame as actual bias.

      The ninth circuit is not in the “want they want to do business,” they are in the business of settling cases and controversies based on the law. Not the “law as they’d like it to be” and not the “law as contorted to further an agenda” either.

      It takes decades to build credibility and 5 minutes to lose it. Seems to me 9th Circuit’s 5 minutes is up.

      1. The ninth circuit has the most cases upheld or left undisturbed by the Supreme Court. By a HUGE margin.

        1. The ninth circuit also has the most cases overturned by SCOTUS. Also by a HUGE margin. It’s a meaningless measure because both of those are because the ninth circuit HAS the most cases by a really, really huge margin.

          On a per-case basis, the ninth isn’t always the most overturned – but they’ve been very consistently near the top.

          1. I look forward to checking the figures after the Supreme Court is enlarged, diminishing the stale voices for backwardness and intolerance on the Court.

            Carry on, clingers. So far as your betters permit . . .

            1. RAK, if you’re going to be a troll, at least be an entertaining one. This is just boring.

              1. I must seem boring to people who find Steve King, the Proud Boys, and Donald Trump entertaining.

                After watching the North Carolina and Wisconsin legislatures in action, or checking the recent history of the Arizona Supreme Court, or recalling Mitch McConnell’s conduct, any conservative who finds the issue of Supreme Court enlargement boring is as clueless as the Republican Party platform indicates.

                1. You enlarge the Supreme Court, you’ll get a 2nd Amendment remedy.

                  1. It’s saying stuff like this that confuses people about whether you’re clowning on purpose or not.

                  2. Open wider, ActualRightWingPatriot. You will have even more progress served by your betters to swallow. You can mutter bitterly about it all you want, and whines are free, but you will obey, just as you and other conservatives have throughout more than a half-century of liberal-libertarian mainstream progress.

          2. “On a per-case basis, the ninth isn’t always the most overturned”

            But it IS always the most NOT-overturned. By a huge margin.

            1. On a per-case basis, no it is not.

              1. Somehow he missed the fact that “per-case” was the whole point of your initial response.

                You are too kind not to say in so many words that it was cretinous for him to do that.

          3. ” because the ninth circuit HAS the most cases by a really, really huge margin.”

            Yep, because it serves the largest population base by a wide margin. By population covered, around double that of the next largest circuit.

            Out of 12 geographically defined circuits (1-11 + DC) the 9th by itself covers round 1/5th of the total US population.

      2. The ninth circuit has the most cases upheld or left undisturbed by the Supreme Court. By a HUGE margin.

      3. The appearance of bias is, for outward purposes, the dame as actual bias.

        Tell it to Brett Kavanaugh.

        1. The only appearance of bias was on the part of those who alleged he had anything to answer for on the basis of no evidence whatsoever.

    2. In what universe does the 9th Circuit ever “do nothing”?

      Clowning themselves by doing stupid things is not the only alternative.

  4. I thought there were only 8 circuits now, after Pluto was reclassified as not being a real planet.

  5. The Ninth Circuit has the right to run its meetings however it chooses,

    I’m not sure I agree. They aren’t a private club, after all. I’m not sure how one could reasonably regulate such things, but surely the usual suspects would be up in arms if a circuit was hearing speakers from Focus on the Family or Return of Kings.

    1. They have a right to run their meeting, and others have the right to take them to task for it, loudly. Indeed, Republicans in Congress would have an equal right to stop the funding for conferences like this if they could get the votes.

      1. Do they? I wonder. Ninth is a governmental body, was there content based discrimination in the choosing of speakers? Whose speech is this? Does this constitute selective access to certain judges to influence cases?

        1. What is your opinion of the viewpoint-based discrimination involved in the hiring of Supreme Court clerks?

          I will understand if you decline to respond.

          1. Viewpoint-based discrimination in the hiring of clerks is just fine.

            I don’t remotely understand why you think this is relevant.

    2. No, because the right to get a marriage license celebrating your anal-sex based relationship is sacrosanct, and must not be questioned.

      1. I’m sorry exposure to happy homosexual couples makes you regret your decision to remain closeted, but we can’t organize our entire society around your desire to suppress your urges.

        1. ARWP believes that the only correct kind of sex is the kind between a man and his right hand. (Never the left… that’s the devil’s hand!)

          1. I’m married to a woman, you moron.

  6. Someone should really make a complaint to the Federalist Society!

    1. A complaint registered at the Volokh Conspiracy is, in effect, a complaint to the Federalist Society.

  7. ‘Rightwing’ or expected conservative Justices regularly flip, either because they’re outright dishonest partisans in the closet or because of misguided notions that the other side plays by the same rules. When’s the last time we’ve seen the opposite?

    The right nominates judges to the judiciary as well as milksops who try their best to live up to a naive ideal of fairness by bending over backward to not appear partisan eg dreaming up a justification for an clearly unconstitutional health care power grab or consistently sabotaging ‘conservative’ rulings by writing as narrow an opinion as possible even if it ends up sounding bizarre or siding with the group that tried to destroy your career a month ago because it wouldn’t look fair if you were voting with those mean old conservatives all the time and you want to even things up.

    The left on the other hand nominates true champions and activists for their cause to the bench.

    I’ll leave it as an exercise to the reader as to which side is smarter.

    1. AmosArch sees insufficient zealotry in those he agrees with and lots of zealotry in those he disagrees with.

      Clearly! This is a crisis! Until we get more judges exactly like AmosArch!!

      1. You misspelled kirkland. Purely unintentional, I’m sure.

        1. Whattaboutism noted.

          RAK has fanboys enough without me piling on.

          1. Losing the culture war has made people like NotAnotherSkippy cranky. It’s better to ignore their lamentations . . . unless you prefer to enjoy them.

            1. You have to look one layer down, RAK. It’s not about the left winning the culture war on about every issue for the past 50 years, he’s talking about *why* that is. He’s saying that conservatives don’t fight hard enough. Conservatives conserve, progressives always want another slice of the pie.

              Besides, when’s the last time someone opened their window and raised a fist and shouted, “Things are generally tolerable!”

              1. Partisans are ever of the belief that their own side are wimps while the other side are all savage zealots. That’s been a thing since at least the fall of the Roman Republic.

                Anyhow, your idea that progressives are greedy and conservatives conserve doesn’t track reality these days IMO. Conservatives don’t actually conserve, these days. It’s become a reactionary party, not a traditionalist one. The new right wants unprecedented policies with respect to immigration, for instance.

                1. Sarc, you’re plagiarizing yourself at this point. Look at the very definition of the words.

                  From Britinnaci: Conservatism must also be distinguished from the reactionary outlook, which favours the restoration of a previous, and usually outmoded,
                  Look at how fundamentally transformed our social relations are since the 1960s, and how communism is still (despite all the evidence to the contrary, piled high in mass graves worldwide) a

                  1. Crap, accidentally posted a half finished reply. Point still stands. Definitions matter.
                    Conservatives conserve, progressives want change. You’re redefining conservatives as reactionaries because it suits your argument. And funny enough, today’s conservatives are preserving yesterday’s changes by progressives.

                    And Amos is right, in that I would ask you to find and example of a Justice who, upon appointment, went right instead of left.

                    1. Dictionaries are formalist not functionalist. In the real world, those who self-identify with the conservative brand aren’t obeying the dictionary definition.

                      The usual example of a rightward drifting justice is Byron White. But the real issue is that the logic doesn’t track.
                      There are lots of reasons why Republican-appointed justices might not track with conservative thought. From positing an extraordinary speed of ideological shift on the right, to institutional knowledge being more liberal than the less elite electorate, to there being a lot more unexplored room on the left due to McCarthyism destroying the far left…that it is due to their honesty compared to their hack Democratically-appointed compatriots is not proven.

                    2. You’re arguing against the utility of the dictionary in finding common understanding of common words. You’ve no inner keep to retreat too now. That’s as close as you can get to functionally conceding the point (that conservatives conserve and progressives want change) without actually saying as much.

                      As for White, I wouldn’t call him a black swan to Amos’ point about justices going left rather than right. He was appointed by a moderate Dem and was a moderate swing vote type.

                      And I think you would be surprised, should you take the time to look, at how leftward the Democrat party has lurched. JFK, the fellow who nominated White, wouldn’t make it past the Iowa caucuses if he was raised like Lazarus and went back into politics as a Dem. This is not to say that Republicans haven’t move rightward, on a few issues they have (guns and abortion are two) but by definition conservatives want to keep the status quo. In many ways, you should feel lucky, because like I said, today’s conservatives fight to protect the very things liberals fought so hard to get accepted into the mainstream.

                    3. If you think political brands are based on meaning what they say they do, I have some bad news for you. What you choose to call your ideology doesn’t mean much about what your ideology actually is.
                      Conservatives are the radicals these days, wanting to end immigration and expand free exercise rights beyond any modern past precedents. And regulate social media. Paul Ryan’s desires for entitlements are way more radical than Chuck Schummer’s waffly whateverism.

                      The talking point about how the Democrats are the ones who have lurched to the left is a common one, but not one I buy, other than the Dixiecrat types moving to the GOP. Enjoy that.

                      Everyone cites JFK for some reason, but other than being ineptly anti-Communist, his policies were something of a cipher. What about that old socialist FDR? What about LBJ?

                    4. Pot, meet kettle, kettle, meet pot.

                    5. In other words Sarcast0, you don’t like what the dictionary says so you want to make up your own definitions.

                      Got it.

                    6. Oh, good lord. What people say and do is what they are, not what some label says.

                    7. MJBinAL: you don’t like what the dictionary says so you want to make up your own definitions.

                      Also MJBinAL: Socialism (the actual meaning of “Progressive”)

                      Come on, son.

  8. ” but literally rather far afield for the West Coast-based Ninth Circuit.”

    Careful. Oregon has Civil War ruins, open to the public. I did the school tour with my daughter’s class.
    (Oregon picked the winning side, so perhaps its monuments are less controversial?)

    ” President Trump has engaged in a series of unseemly and generally unwarranted attacks on the partisan neutrality of the judiciary. This is a poor time for the Ninth Circuit to be giving his ilk ammunition.”

    President Trump and his ilk would act as they do regardless of what the Ninth Circuit, or anyone else, does or says. It’s not like he’s reading the briefings about it. All he cares about is whether or not the judge’s name ends in a “z”.

    1. Oregon has *Confederate* monuments?! Do tell . . .

      1. Reading comprehension score: 20%

        1. Seriously? You made the leap from “Confederate monuments” in the actual post to “Civil War ruins” in your inane comment and now you lecture other people about reading comprehension? You’ve never been particularly intelligent but that was apparently the peak of your Charlie Gordon-like transformation.

          1. Reading comprehension score: 0%

            1. YOUR reading score 0%

              We will never know if Trump would praise a good ruling from the 9th Circuit Court because we are unlikely to see one.

              But we get one, and Trump trashes it, I will be sure to note that you were right.

  9. >>President Trump has engaged in a series of unseemly and generally unwarranted attacks on the partisan >>neutrality of the judiciary.

    The judiciary for all intents and purposes is as partisan as any typical group of politicians. The only difference is that they wear robes and legislate with a gavel. Why pretend otherwise?

    1. We all know this is true. If this were not the case, there would be no bid deal confirming judges in the Senate.

      If all judges were pillars of propriety faithfully ruling based on constitutional basis, and they judge without any political agenda at all, Senate confirmation hearings would be quiet, reserved proceedings completed in a matter of hours with little coverage by the news media. You may have noticed that this is not how confirmation hearings go.

      1. Having a philosophy is not the same as being a partisan.

  10. “But as VC readers are undoubtedly aware, President Trump has engaged in a series of unseemly and generally unwarranted attacks on the partisan neutrality of the judiciary. This is a poor time for the Ninth Circuit to be giving his ilk ammunition.”

    I was under the impression that the Ninth Circus had been giving us ilks ammunition for quite a long time.

    1. “partisan neutrality of the judiciary”

      No one should type this with a straight face.

      1. That was genuinely funny…not sure if intended to be so.

  11. I gotta say I like Monday’s kickoff titled How Adversary Nations Can Erode Public Trust in America’s Judiciary.

    I’m sure they’ll touch on things like how America’s judiciary erodes public trust in itself given all the Kelo class, civil asset forfeiture, double jeopardy “separate soverign”, and other myriad B.S. decisions which have been upheld.

    Why? What’s with the laughing?

  12. – Is it only attended by judges? What are attendance numbers? Is this just to attract attendance (especially if attended by people other than judges)?
    – Conference talks are not court opinions (sorry Volokh Co-Conspirators)
    – If any circuit court (or others) are not concerned about electronic attack (by Russia, China or otherwise) they are fools and are derelict in their duty. With efiling and records which might be hackable – any party (if they are a poor individual, Sister of the Poor, or corporation) they might not want their filing hacked (corporation with a non-disclosure agreement wouldn’t like disclosure; and Russia – or others – might be happy perpetrate and then to blame others to sew discord and make our system seem weak)

    1. “- Is it only attended by judges? What are attendance numbers? Is this just to attract attendance (especially if attended by people other than judges)?”

      If it’s the same as the one that was held on my law school campus while I was there, it’s attended by judges and court staff (but most of the material is designed for judges). There are “public galleries” but close to zero “public” in them… the law school “encourages” students to see them.

      “- Conference talks are not court opinions (sorry Volokh Co-Conspirators)”

      No. More like CLE.

  13. “This is a poor time for the Ninth Circuit to be giving his ilk ammunition.”

    Or maybe it’s a good time for the Ninth to show it won’t be chilled by Trump’s authoritarian bluster.

    1. Much like Obama’s threat over “unprecedented” overturning of a duly passed law if scotus ruled against barrycare? You mean that kind of authoritatianism?

      1. …what world do you live in?

        1. The same world where attending an Erwin Chemerinsky lecture is “letting your ideological freak flag fly.” So apparently that means George Mason University School of Law..

  14. Now that a link to the schedule in question has been (silently) added to the article, it should be pointed out that the Federal Judicial Center is not a subordinate organization of the Ninth Circuit. Does the Ninth Circuit actually have anything to do with this workshop or is it just occurring within the geographic bounds of the Ninth Circuit?

    1. (Assuming, for sake of argument, that the workshop actually exists)

      1. It’s easy enough to establish that the workshop actually exists. Finding the agenda for it at a neutral location is somewhat more difficult.

        Mind, if the agenda presented here is accurate, that would be understandable.

        1. It’s easy enough to establish that the workshop actually exists.

          Is it? I can find lots of info on the Ninth Circuit’s annual summer judicial conferences, but nothing on this mid-winter workshop.

          With little more than a month to go, can you find any sort of official announcement? A registration site? A conference center with it on their schedule? Any of the people listed as speaking putting it on their schedule of future activities?

          1. “Is it? I can find lots of info on the Ninth Circuit’s annual summer judicial conferences, but nothing on this mid-winter workshop.”

            If you aren’t an employee of the Ninth Circuit, why would you expect to be in the loop? I didn’t get any notification of ANY of the local law firm’s internal CLE, either. Scandal!

    2. 10:00 a.m. ? 11:30 a.m. Recent Ninth Circuit Decisions

      Speakers: Hon. William Fletcher, Circuit Judge Hon. Jay S. Bybee, Circuit Judge

      11:30 a.m. ? 11:45 a.m. Closing Remarks/Adjournment

      Hon. Cathy Ann Bencivengo, District Judge, CAS Chair, Ninth Circuit Education Committee

      At a minimum, it seems to be about the Ninth Circuit Court.

    3. Until a couple of years ago, my daughter was a lawyer representative to the 9th Circuit Judicial Conference and one year she chaired the program committee. The only conference mentioned on the 9th Circuit’s website is their annual conference, which occurs each summer. So I asked her if there was a midwinter judicial conference. She said, “I don’t know.”

    4. The Federal Judicial Center is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and Chief Justice John Roberts is chair of its board of directors. There is no mention of any midwinter conference on its website.

  15. The keynote address is about Confederate monuments, a hot issue on the activist left

    It also is a hot issue on the bigoted right, but movement conservatives would would prefer not to direct attention to that point, remaining mostly silent with respect to the ‘very fine people’ involved.

    Observing the Volokh Conspiracy’s conduct during the Trump administration has been interesting, amusing, and illuminating.

    1. I wonder which side of the issue was advocated in the presentation to the 9th Circuit?

      1. The anti-slavery side, I imagine.

        1. The American side?

      2. The federal law’s side.
        Honestly, most of the legal kerfuffle over monuments involves state law, not federal. The anti-Civil-War-loser-monument activists do stuff to vandalize the monuments, and they get prosecuted for state criminal offenses, and then the state law mandates what happens to the monument site… do they re-erect the monument? Move it? or whatever.

    2. I have been rather bored by the VC’s conduct, myself. I was just as bored a few years back when Orin was writing many, many paragraphs in consideration of whether repeated mock executions of incarcerated individuals might possibly amount to conduct that could conceivably be in violation of some extant treaties or previously enacted laws.

    3. I don’t blame Democrats for wanting to tear down the statues of their slave-owning forefathers. I also don’t blame Republicans for wanting to keep the statues of the slave-owning Democrats up, for future generations to learn from and repeat from occurring again.

      1. It’s pretty impressive to take 150-years-ago party affiliation as the salient fact of the Civil War.

        1. It’s pretty impressive to deny history.

          1. Do you think I was saying the Democratic party wasn’t the party of slaveholders? Or that any modern Dems deny that in any way?

    4. Oh look! Rev. Arty must have been awakened for his meds. He will be on line for a little while until the ward nurse comes to take him back to his room.

  16. Isn’t it something of a canard that the Ninth is notable in it’s politics these days? I could be wrong, but as I recall beyond being big, it’s not very different from most of the other circuits statistically, and not the most liberal.

    1. It’s the circuit that covers California, and a couple more blue states, and a bunch of red states. But since California has way more people and way more industry, there’s a lot more judicial work originating in California than there is from Alaska or Idaho.

      1. Covering California doesn’t mean your judges will be more liberal. And, as I linked above, indeed it does not.

        1. Actually, it kind of does, given the historical role suggestions from the governor of the state had in federal judicial appointments.

  17. “But as VC readers are undoubtedly aware, President Trump has engaged in a series of unseemly and generally unwarranted attacks on the partisan neutrality of the judiciary. This is a poor time for the Ninth Circuit to be giving his ilk ammunition.”

    Unseemly? Sure, in a “how dare you acknowledge the obvious” sense. Unwarranted? I have a hard time agreeing with that in light of the degree of TrumpLaw exhibited in the lower court rulings against him.

    1. Indeed, Trump’s nomination of Steve Grasz and Jonathan Kobes to the Eighth Circuit bench shows just how committed he is to a completely nonpartisan judiciary!

      1. Nonpartisan, meaning only slightly progressive? or only believing in a “living constitution” on Tuesdays and Thursdays?

        Since ‘liberal” means progressive, which means changing the meaning of the constitution in any way necessary to progress the nation towards Socialism (the actual meaning of “Progressive”). What does opposed to changing the meaning of the constitution get labeled? It seems you want to label following the constitution as intended as partisan.

  18. Poor Prof. Bernstein.

    There’s too much leftism and too much rightism.

  19. It may be a bad time for the Ninth to host this meeting they’ve held for decades, but there’s never a bad time for concern-trolling, is there?

    I kid, of course, and totally agree. Until Trump starts acting like an adult and has some massive personality andintelligence transplants, we must all moderate our behavior so he does not get upset and tweet out idiotic, fact-free, middle-school gibberish, 8-12 times a day. Great point, professor.

  20. UPDATE: Compare and contrast the Tenth Circuit’s most recent conference.

    Likewise compare and contrast with the Ninth Circuit’s most recent summer conference

    But also note that while the summer conferences are highly visible on the Ninth Circuit’s website, there is nary a mention of mid-winter workshops.

    1. “there is nary a mention of mid-winter workshops.”

      Maybe because the summer workshop is done, having been held last summer, but the winter workstop hasn’t happened yet, so there’s nothing to talk about yet?

      I mean, if you’re looking for REAL conspiracy, NFL films doesn’t have ANY footage of next year’s Super Bowl yet. It’s because they want to keep interest in football high, even in the cities that have football teams that won’t play in the Super Bowl, so they have to hide all the footage of next year’s game, since a careful examination of the footage would reveal which team’s uniforms were being worn by the players on the field, and that would be a dead giveaway that the Patriots have fixed the playoffs AGAIN.

      1. I can find out where the next Superbowl is being held, buy tickets to attend, find an official schedule for it, even look up who will be performing at half time.

        Likewise, I can find where the 2019 Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference is being held (Spokane Convention Center), when (July 19 – July 26), etc.

        But the only “proof” we have this mid-winter workshop exists is a google doc of unknown origin. If someone wrote a fake schedule for a “GMU Mid-winter Puppy Kicking Festival” and threw it up on Google Docs, would you be condemning Dr. Berstein as an animal abuser based purely on that link?

        1. Based on my reading of the posted schedule, I think it’s real, but it’s not being put on by the 9th circuit, it’s more about the 9th circuit.

          The workshop seems to be a product of the Federal Judicial Center

          Part of what they do is put on educational workshops for district and circuit judges.

          While they don’t have a publicly accessible schedule of their workshops, the do have this on their website

          Circuit Workshops for U.S. Appellate and District Judges

          Workshops for appellate and district judges of individual circuits are planned by the Circuit Judicial Education Planning Committees in consultation with the Federal Judicial Center. Emphasis is placed on topics of particular interest to judges of the circuit. The Center hosts national workshops for U.S. district judges in alternate years.

    2. Thanks for a link to the summer conference. That one seems “normal.”

  21. On an easel outside the biggest conference room in the hotel: “Butt Hurt-as-Brain Damage: Sophistry Planning For Future Workarounds Of The First Amendment”

  22. So do we have any proof that this “midwinter meeting” exists yet, or just a since-deleted link to a not-very-official looking document on Google Drive?

  23. It is not clear to me what the complaint here is. There seem to be three possibilities:

    1. Ideological bias in and of itself.
    2. Ideological bias in a government-funded meeting.
    3. Poor tactics, as exemplified by the last sentence.

    Number one doesn’t trouble Bernstein, it seems, since he has no objection to a privately funded ideological conference for judges.

    Number two looks a bit pretextual to me. Who exactly is supposed to have approval rights over topics and panels at these meetings?

    And number three is dubious. Are the judges supposed to cower before Trump’s tweets? That’s reminiscent of the two revolutionaries about to be shot by a Czarist firing squad. Asked if they have any last words, one yells out, “Long live the revolution,” and the other turns to him and says, “Stop it. You’ll only make them angry.”

    1. “If you want to be perceived as a court motivated by adherence to the law and not ideology or partisanship, it’s a good idea not to run a judicial conference that seem to display a strong partisan and ideological bent.”

      1. But they aren’t “a court motivated by adherence to the law and not ideology or partisanship”, and they no longer care about hiding that fact.

        Instead of whining that they’ve let the mask slip, why don’t you attack them for being in the wrong?

      2. OK, so the funding source is irrelevant to your complaint. But judges, including SCOTUS justices, on both right and left regularly attend meetings, conferences, etc. with an ideological bias.

        Whatever the funding source would you say,

        “If you want to be perceived as a [judge] motivated by adherence to the law and not ideology or partisanship, it’s a good idea not to [attend a conference] that seems to display a strong partisan and ideological bent?”

        1. What precisely does “right” and “left” mean in terms of judges? My observation is that the division is more properly, “fixed constitution” vs. “living constitution”. Where a “living constitution” can come to mean whatever you want it to, no amendments required.

          So, in general, do you believe that the Ninth Circuit Court tends toward a fixed constitution or a living one?

          1. Conservatives can be quite living constitutionalist when it comes to outcomes they want. Check out the war on drugs and what it’s done to our Fourth Amendment jurisprudence.

      3. By that logic, is this distinguishable from the Heritage Foundation’s Clerkship Boot Camp?

  24. “President Trump has engaged in a series of unseemly and generally unwarranted attacks on the partisan neutrality of the judiciary”

    No, he hasn’t.

    He’s engaged in utterly honest attacks on corruptly left-wing “judges”.

    No Presidents Executive Orders can bind a future President. The idea that they can is literally insane.

    But that’s how multiple “judges” have ruled on #DACA.

    Then there’s the 4 left-wing Supreme Court “Justices”. Who believe it’s allowed for the State of CA to forced anti-abortion clinics to advertise abortions.

    A large part of the American Judiciary is corrupt, partisan, and acts as domestic enemies of the US Constitution. President Trump calling them out on that is a good thing.

    1. “He’s engaged in utterly honest attacks on corruptly left-wing “judges”.”

      Your own partisanship is on full display, in case you were wondering.

      1. There’s nothing wrong with being partisan for the written US Constitution

        1. There is something wrong with being so prideful you arrogate to yourself the authority of the sole interpreter of the Constitution.

          1. I agree Sarcastr0, and I wish you would stop it.

            1. Cute. Where am I doing that, though?

          2. There’s nothing wrong with being so “prideful” that I understand that 1 + 1 = 2

            You can’t claim to believe in a “Living Constitution”, and at the same time claim that you’re following the written US Constitution. The two are opposites.

            You can’t claim to believe that one President’s Executive Order limit what a later President’s Executive Orders can do, and also claim to believe in the rule of law, the US written Constitution, or even democracy.

      2. Do you have any actual points to make? Any “you’re wrong about this”?

        Or is it all “nah, nah, I can’t HEAR you, because you’re ‘partisan’!!!”?

  25. “I wouldn’t see a problem if this was the agenda of a private organization that invited judges to attend such a conference”

    Translation: “I wouldn’t see a problem if this were a Federalist Society event pushing conservative and libertarian legal philosophy”

    Apparently, the “privateness” of the ideas make them less biased?

    If you want to complain about the perceived partisan bias of the federal judiciary, the Federalist Society has definitely contributed. They take political concepts, namely “conservative” and “libertarian” and apply them to law. How is this not politicizing law?

    In fact, law has always been politicized. Trump is right about this, even though he is right about it in the wrong way. The Federalist Society EXISTS because the law is politicized. The Civil War EXISTS, in part, because the law is politicized.

    The ideal of neutral law is not a complete fantasy. But it is not overwhelmingly dominant either, especially at the Supreme Court and Appellate levels where novel issues of law and policy are decided.

    1. There is nothing “fantasy” about saying “here’s the written law, follow it. There’s nothing in the Constitution about X? Then the Federal gov’t has no power over it.”

      It’s just hateful to the left

  26. “President Trump has engaged in a series of unseemly and generally unwarranted attacks on the partisan neutrality of the judiciary.”

    ………or ARE they???

  27. Isn’t anyone here going to mention the yoga workshop they had? Oh, I just did. Well, all-in-all, the conference doesn’t seem as boring as the 10th’s, though yes it does seem to lean well to the Left.

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