Thursday, November 21, 2013

Kozinski in court ... as objector

As has been widely reported (e.g., here, here), including two stories in the DJ (9th Circuit Chief Judge's Role as Class Action Objector May be Unprecedented and 9th Circuit Chief Judge has Unusual Courtroom Role: Objector), the Chief Judge has had some car troubles with his Nissan LEAF electric car, and is representing himself in Klee v. Nissan North America Inc. before C.D. Cal. Judge O'Connell. Professor Arthur Hellman is quoted: "The federal judiciary is hierarchical. It is a hierarchy and Chief Judge Kozinksi plays a role in the hierarchy [of] which Judge O'Connell is a part. It puts the district judge in a very difficult position. Here the chief judge of the circuit is telling her in very strong terms [that] it would be a gross miscarriage of justice to approve this settlement."

Not the CJ's LEAF, b/c his, is named Pearl, isn't blue.

Yeah, ok, he's the chief of the circuit. But he can be a litigant too. (Quote from Professor Lubet: "Judges are allowed, just like anyone else, to assert consumer claims, including objections to class action settlements.") An Article III judge is going to rule the same way regardless of a "celebrity" litigant, right? As the Supreme Court made clear recently in Vance, for example, under Title VII, a supervisor must be able to take tangible employment action against the victim. The Chief does not control Judge O'Connell's "job" in that way.

Hey bar groups, here's a proposed program topic: The CJ & PJ as Litigant, starring CJ Kozinski and PJ Gilbert!