Lanhee Chen: The “Liberal Lion” and the Future of the Courts
Stephen Reinhardt, who was called the “liberal lion” of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, passed away on March 29th in Los Angeles. During his almost 40 years on the appeals court bench, Reinhardt wrote opinions that struck down the constitutionality of the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance and overturned Proposition 8, California’s initiative defining marriage as a male-female union. Reinhardt’s death means that there are now seven vacancies on the notoriously liberal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. President Trump has an historic opportunity to remake the Ninth Circuit—and the entire federal judiciary. The vast majority of his judicial nominees thus far have been stellar. They will adhere to the rule of law and interpret the Constitution based on the words in it, not the ideas they want to be in it. The President should continue his good work in this arena. Doing so will remake federal jurisprudence for decades to come.