Judge Stephen Reinhardt, known as 9th Circuit's 'liberal lion,' dies at 87

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Screenshot of Judge Stephen Reinhardt/CSPAN.

Judge Stephen Reinhardt, known as the “liberal lion” of the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, has died.

Reinhardt was 87, report BuzzFeed News, the Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press. He died after suffering a heart attack during a visit to a dermatologist.

Reinhardt’s opinions were often reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court. He told the Times in 2011 that he didn’t feel singled out. “If you follow the law the way it is, before they change it, you’re going to get reversed,” he said.

President Jimmy Carter nominated Reinhardt to the bench in 1979, and he became a judge the next year. He had 37 years of active service and had been the sixth longest-serving current judge on the court, according to a statement by the 9th Circuit.

Reinhardt had said the Holocaust influenced his belief about the need to be vigilant in upholding human rights. Reinhardt had taken on his last name after his mother married screenwriter and director Gottfried Reinhardt, whose father had fled Nazi Germany.

University of California at Berkeley law dean Erwin Chemerinsky told the Times that Reinhardt “was a giant not just on the 9th Circuit but within the law,” and was known as a judge who had a vision of enforcing the Constitution to protect people.

The chief judge of the 9th Circuit, Sidney Thomas, said Reinhardt was “deeply principled, fiercely passionate about the law and fearless in his decisions.”

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