Ratio Decidendi

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Ratio Decidendi

The appellate panel that affirmed the denial of a TRO in the You-Know-Who case pithily summarizes what I set out at perhaps unnecessary length: the reason why Santorum, DeLay, et al. are wrong to attack the trial judge for examining what happened in the Florida courts in spite of the federal statute's requirement of a de novo proceeding in federal court.
Nor do we find convincing plaintiffs' argument that in reaching its decision to deny the motion for a temporary restraining order the district court violated Pub. L. No. 109-3 [the Schiavo statute] by considering the procedural history of extensive state court litigation. The plaintiffs' complaint and other filings in the district court asserted that they had not been afforded procedural due process by the state courts. Their pleadings and brief in the district court and this Court are replete with citations to and discussion about the state court proceedings and decisions. In deciding whether the plaintiffs had shown a substantial case on the merits of their federal due
process claims, the district court had to consider the prior proceedings in state court. There is no way to consider a claim that state court proceedings violated the Due Process Clause without examining what those proceedings were. In obedience to Pub. L. No. 109-3 the district court considered the federal claims de novo and made its own independent evaluation of them.
(emphasis added). Anyone who wants to wallow more in this sad case should click on the link to the appellate decision, which attaches a copy of the district court decision. Read these, including the dissenting opinion on the appellate court, and you'll have a clearer idea of what's going on in court than what you'll get from listening to the spinmeisters and the ignorant talking heads.

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