Retraction to earlier posting

Monday, July 12th, 2010
By: Jonathan MontagJ.D.

On March 28, 2010, I posted a commentary, “The Ninth Circuit Issues a Counterpunch to Aden in Chawla.” in which I expressed an opinion about the motives of some of the judges of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Recently, I received a letter from a judge on the court taking me to task for this observation. I concluded that the judge was right and I was wrong. I wrote the judge to admit that I was wrong.  What follows is my letter to the judge:

Thank you for your response to my article, “The Ninth Circuit Issues a Counterpunch to Aden in Chawla” posted on March 28, 2010. You took exception to my rumination about the “objection”of “many” appellate judges to plod through the details of asylum cases when other issues in other cases are more professionally satisfying to them. I wrote the observation with two escape valves:

1. I prefaced it with “I personally cannot help but believe,” to take it out of the sphere of empiricism;

2. I observed that this view was held by “many” judges again as a way to avoid quantification. How many is “many”?

My casuistic tricks did not get by you and I am extremely pleased that you took the time to write me. Now the evidence is in (your letter to me) and the preponderance of it, in fact all of it, is that no circuit court judge avoids analyzing asylum cases because of an objection to spending the time going through them. Like a competent fact finder would, I am compelled to conclude that there is no evidence to sustain my rumination. Assessing peoples’ motives is dangerous business. I have had enough experience with courts of appeal to know that a court’s motives are found written in the opinions. I should not opine about motives from outside the four corners of a decision and certainly without evidence. Please accept my apology directed to you and to the entire Court of Appeals.

As a blogger I cannot help but be excited that people such as you read my blog. In the cacophonous world of the internet, one has no knowledge if anyone is actually reading the blog. Often one wonders if blogging is not unlike a space exploration project where NASA broadcasts information into deep space to invite a response from life in other galaxies.

I have been made acutely aware of an actual and prestigious audience that rightfully should not tolerate my confusing my feelings with facts. I will strive to never make the same mistake again. I thank you for taking the time to write me. I hope you will continue to read my blog and will find it a source of fair observation, opinion, and entertainment.  Posted on July 12, 2010.


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