Judge Kozinski’s Nautically Themed Dissent

Twenty-five years after graduating from the Naval Academy, I still call whatever I happen to be walking on — whether a carpet, concrete, a lawn, or bare ground — “the deck.” I like a nautical theme as much as the next guy, maybe more.

Maybe that’s why I don’t share Professor Martin’s opinion that Judge Kozinski’s dissent in today’s Ninth Circuit Exxon Valdez decision (Baker v. Exxon Mobile Corp., 04-35182 (May 23, 2007)) is an example of a clerk and/or judge “trying too hard.” Indeed, I thought there were some missed opportunities to use even more nautical turns of phrase — either Judge Kozinski missed them, or he deliberately refrained from using them so as not to go overboard (ouch). In any event, while Judge Kozinski’s opinion fires a few broadsides (ouch again) at the majority, I think the theme keeps the opinion engaging without taking anything away from the seriousness of the issues.

Robert Loblaw at the Decision of the Day can’t resist either, asking, “Has the Exxon Valdez litigation finally run aground?” But that’s just the first sentence of a more informative post that also wonders about the future of the litigation.

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