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Law Firm that Sought Reinhardt’s Ouster Is More Successful in a Second Case

Posted Dec 3, 2010 8:09 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A federal appeals court has booted a Tennessee federal judge from a case involving state health care for children, citing his “accusatory language” and “unproductive turmoil” in the legal dispute.

The order by the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the accusatory language by Judge William Haynes Jr. was directed at Tennessee state lawyers, the Tennessean reports. The Nashville judge’s attitude created the appearance that justice was compromised, the court said.

The appeals court also said the case was proceeding "without direction or deadlines for resolution of primary issues,” creating a state of “unproductive turmoil.”

The judge’s removal had been sought by Cooper & Kirk, hired by the state to handle the biggest legal challenges to the TennCare health program for poor and disabled children. Lawyers representing the children had opposed Haynes’ removal, saying he was "conscientious and courageous.”

Cooper & Kirk “has been known to question judges' impartiality in other cases,” the Tennessean says, including the gay-marriage case pending before the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The law firm had sought to disqualify Judge Stephen Reinhardt, who is sitting on the 9th Circuit panel appointed to hear the Proposition 8 appeal by opponents of same-sex marriage in California. The motion said his wife’s position as executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, which had been an active participant in the suit, merited the judge’s removal. Reinhardt turned down the request Thursday, one day after the motion was filed.

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