In a recent speech at a 9th Circuit judicial conference in Honolulu, Justice John Paul Stevens said we shouldn't read too much into the overturn rate of the 9th Circuit.
The 9th Circuit's dubious record of a 90 percent reversal rate last session, reversing 19 of 21 cases, is "misleading" and does not reflect where it really stands, Stevens said. He pointed out in the Seattle schools case, Parents United v. Seattle School District, 127 S.Ct. 2738, that the 6th and 1st Circuits had ruled similarly and that three appeals courts ruled the same on so-called partial birth abortion cases, which were later overturned. The Seattle schools case, by 5-4 vote, held the city could not use race as a factor in making school assignments.
I have to disagree with Stevens. More 9th Circuit cases end up before the Supreme Court than any other circuit. Why is this? Because the 9th Circuit issues more rulings that disagree with other circuit court. It's only when there's a disagreement between the circuit court that the SCOTUS will typically take up a case, so as to resolve the conflict. And the 9th Circuit cases are reversed nearly all the time. It doesn't seem to me like that statistic can be misread (like so many statistics are). But if you're a guest, it's rude to point out that the carpet's dirty, right?