Fearing a conservative jurist would replace Judge Stephen Reinhardt, the liberal lion of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a prominent progressive legal scholar quietly urged him to retire in the spring of 2014.
U.C. Berkeley School of Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky approached Reinhardt just months before the 2014 midterm elections and suggested he retire, The New York Times reported Saturday.
Reinhardt refused the overtures. Months later, Republicans assumed control of the Senate, effectively ending former President Barack Obama’s judicial confirmations. President Donald Trump’s election forced the judge into an awkward actuarial battle, an increasingly common phenomenon as judicial appointments become highly politicized. He died on March 29 at 87.