Friday, December 6, 2013

Justices trapped in a Stale Marriage?

Not all matches are made in heaven...

The DJ's Emily Green is at it again, writing articles only appellate nerds would love -- and they do!
Today's venture discusses the division system used in the 1st and 2d Districts (State Appellate Divisions Too Stale, Critics Charge). In his book, former CJ George criticized the divisions "as sometimes evolving 'into something like a stale marriage.'"

Some divisions work out fine: 2/3 has been together for decades. Others, not so much: Can you say "dysfunctional work environment"? Cue MoFo's Miriam Vogel, formerly of the infamous old 2/1, to provide choice quotes to the effect that "working on a four-judge panel is intellectually stifling." In contrast, PJ Gilbert says of 2/6, "I like what we have going here and would want to continue that." He thinks, however, that lawyers would prefer having open divisions and a greater mixing of justices. But many practitioners would disagree: Set divisions develop styles, reputations and internal practices that appellate regulars appreciate, at least in terms of being better able to advise clients, a la the devil you know. Cf., the 9th Circuit, where you never know might be on a panel. CJ Kozinski is quoted: "I love all my colleagues, ... [but] I might love them slightly less if we had to sit together every sitting."