WASHINGTON — In the spring of 2014, a friend tried to nudge Judge Stephen Reinhardt, then an 83-year-old liberal stalwart on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, into stepping aside from full-time duties so President Barack Obama could nominate a successor.
The friend, Erwin Chemerinsky, now the dean at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, said he had gently suggested to Judge Reinhardt that he and another longtime liberal figure on the San Francisco-based court make way while Democrats still had the power to assure that jurists with a similar philosophy would take their place. Judge Reinhardt swiftly rejected that notion and stayed on.
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