University of Pittsburgh

Arthur Hellman on Quandary Created by Kozinski Objection to Class Action Settlement

Publish Date/Time: 
January 13, 2014

The chief judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has created an unusual quandary for the federal judiciary, Pitt Law Professor Arthur Hellman told the Daily Journal, the West Coast legal newspaper. Chief Judge Alex Kozinski filed an objection to a class action settlement that was pending in the Central District of California, part of the Ninth Circuit. Two judges of the district have already disqualified themselves from considering the settlement, and the question now is who will hear the case. “The combination of circumstances that the objection comes from the chief judge of the circuit while the matter is pending before the district judge in that circuit – I’d be astonished if that has ever happened before,” Hellman said. Chief Justice John G. Roberts could be asked to designate a judge from another circuit, but that request would ordinarily come from the chief judge. Hellman predicted that the most senior active judge of the Ninth Circuit, Harr y Pregerson, would make the request. However, one of the district judges who recused is Judge Pregerson’s son, so perhaps the responsibility will fall to the next judge, Stephen Reinhardt. 

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