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  Arizona immigration clash headed for controversial appeals court
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ContributorHikikomori Blitzkrieg! 
Last EditedHikikomori Blitzkrieg!  Aug 03, 2010 12:53am
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CategoryAnalysis
AuthorHoward Mintz
MediaNewspaper - San Jose Mercury News
News DateSunday, August 1, 2010 11:50:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionThe epic legal struggle over Arizona's immigration crackdown has landed in a San Francisco-based federal appeals court that is all too familiar with being the center of the nation's attention — and its inevitable label as the nation's most liberal court

From once striking down the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools to overturning death sentences with regularity, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has long been a favored target of conservatives who have jumped at any chance to blast the country's largest appellate court. Some groups supporting Arizona's strict immigration law already have said they believe their best chances lay in the U.S. Supreme Court, not the 9th Circuit.

But as the Arizona case reaches its marbled doorstep, having inflamed the national debate over illegal immigration, the 9th Circuit is not so easy to stereotype. While still considered more liberal than most appeals courts, this is not former President Jimmy Carter's 9th Circuit. The appeal of last week's decision by an Arizona judge blocking the most controversial provisions of Arizona's immigration law is just as likely to be decided in the coming months by the 9th Circuit's moderate to conservative judges as by its liberal wing.

"It's changed radically," said Kevin Johnson, dean of the UC Davis law school and a clerk during the 1980s for 9th Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt, the so-called "liberal lion" of the federal judiciary. "It's a much more
conservative court. You've had eight years of President (George W.) Bush nominating people, and he didn't nominate any liberals."
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