The decision, according to NBC, clearly criticizes, by name, President Trump's administration's decision to deport the farmer.
And, of course, the focus of the article is the judge's condemnation of the decision and criticism of President Trump.
Only at the end of the article did NBC actually mention that judge Reinhardt "concurred" (agreed) with the court decision to AGREE with President Trump's administration to DEPORT the farmer and protested only as a "citizen".
Since Judge Reinhardt agreed with the rest of the court that the man should be deported, his opinion as a citizen not only does not matter, but it is judicial misconduct for a judge to even put his personal political opinion into his official judicial order.
Does Judge Reinhardt have a 1st Amendment right to express his opinions about the Trump administration and its immigration policy?
Sure, Judge Reinhardt, "as a citizen", has such a right.
But, "as a citizen", Judge Reinhardt is required to express his political opinions "as a citizen" in other forums - and not to use his judicial position to engage in personal political protests.
Because doing that is judicial misconduct subjecting Judge Reinhardt to impeachment.
But, to NBC, that conduct is somehow to be celebrated.
Because, had NBC started its article with the end phrase - that Judge Reinhardt actually AGREED to deport the man, while grumbling "as a citizen", it will be non-news.
Here is what Judge Reinhardt and Judge Nguyen said in their JOINT concurring opinion:
- Judge Reinhardt has joined Judge Nguyen in DENYING the emergency stay of deportation order pending appeal of the denial of stay of deportation order from the much celebrated U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii, signed by judge Leslie E. Kobayashi, an Obama appointee - claiming that the court is without power to grant the emergency stay of deportation:
There were only TWO judges on the appellate panel where there usually are three judges, which is already an unusual and messy situation, INVITING the result that followed - because even if one of the judges would be for granting the emergency stay motion and the other is for denying it (if Reinhardt would be consistent in his opposition to deportation and voted against it), that would only have resulted in a "tie", and the decision of the lower court, denying the stay of deportation, would still be carried out.
But, Reinhardt did not do even that.
Instead, he AGREED to DENY the emergency stay of deportation - and only then grumbled, for publicity no less, about unfairness of HIS OWN decision.
Then go 5 pages of lamentations about the "good man" ripped out of the arms of his family and deported to Mexico after 28 years illegally spent within the U.S. (interspersed with a footnote regarding his DUI convictions, so the man WAS a jeopardy to the public).
Those who say he isn't should look in the eye of families of people who were killed by drunk drivers.
I cannot verify what Judge Reinhardt said that the lower court record does not support the idea that the deportation was based on the drunk driving record - because the federal court locked up information about that supposedly open case (without an indication that Dkt. 11, the memorandum of law by the government, was sealed).
Since it was not sealed, it should be open to the public, yet I get this message from Pacer.gov when I am trying to reach it:
So, Judge Reinhardt is engaged in just a little bit of playing with the public opinion here - where he asserts that something is incorrect while knowing that public access to court records to verify his words is - illegally - blocked.
Any opposition by the government - the memorandum of law and the letter of the Assistant U.S. Attorney General, are blocked from viewing on Pacer,
only the petition claiming "great abuse of discretion" by the U.S. Attorney's office is available.
It appears that, for whatever reason, age or not, Judge Reinhardt is losing his grip and is implying in his concurring opinion that, for some reason, even when a federal court does not have AUTHORITY (jurisdiction) to grant the relief requested, it still somehow has authority to "find" that the deportation that will lawfully follow will be unfair and unjust.
Well, if a court does not have AUTHORITY to render a decision, it must be clear to any 1st year law student that the court may not go any further to "find" anything after that.
Not so for Judge Reinhardt.
Yet, a judge is a public servant hired by taxpayers to apply the law, not to express his personal opinions as to that law "as a citizen".
"As a citizen" Judge Reinhardt can hit the street as a protestor, petition the government and talk to his legislative representative in Congress.
That's all he can do.
He has no right to impose his personal political opinions as official judicial decisions.
That's judicial misconduct, and Judge Reinhardt well knows it.
If NBC reporter Pete Williams who irresponsibly turned obvious judicial misconduct, "citizen" lamentation of a judge about deportation of a drunk driver (while agreeing with the deportation) into a cheap clickbait, does not know how to report on legal news, maybe, he should quit his job.
Of course, if NBC enjoys turning into yellow press - that's freedom of press.
But, NBC took a stand recently on "fake news", didn't it?