Judge J. Blaine Anderson, a 12-year veteran of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals who often said “you just have to swallow hard and follow the law,” has died of a brain aneurysm at his home in Boise.
Anderson, who was 66 when he died Sunday, is perhaps best known for his decision in the Los Angeles Raiders case. He wrote that the National Football League violated anti-trust laws when it refused to permit the Oakland Raiders to move to Los Angeles.
Appointed by Ford
As a member of the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit since 1976, Anderson traveled monthly to Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Pasadena to hear arguments in cases.
Considered a conservative, he was the last active appointee of President Gerald R. Ford on the appeal court.
His death creates the third vacancy on the 28-judge court. Appointment of a successor is unlikely before the November presidential election. The once liberal-dominated court is split with 13 Democrat and 12 Republican appointees and three vacancies.
In his first year on the appeals court, Anderson struck down warrantless searches of business premises, overturning portions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act allowing warrantless searches as violations of constitutional Fourth Amendment protections.
He wrote in 1982 that immigration officials could not conduct factory sweeps to question alleged illegal aliens but must reasonably suspect a particular individual to interrogate them. The ruling was later overturned by the Supreme Court in a separate case.
In 1986 he rebuked U.S. District Judge Manuel Real, the chief federal judge in Los Angeles, for fining an attorney $250,000 for what Real considered courtroom misconduct.
The 9th Circuit covers nine Western states--Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Montana, Nevada, California, Arizona, Alaska and Hawaii--and the Northern Mariana Islands in the Pacific.
Anderson was one of the few judges sought out for appointment because his record as an attorney was so excellent, Chief Judge James R. Browning said.
Although a Republican appointee, he was never registered as Republican or Democrat.
“I’m not a card-carrying anything except a card-carrying lawyer,” he said in a 1981 interview.
He was born in Trenton, Utah, in 1922.
His father worked his way through school as a railroad telegrapher and later served as general counsel for the Union Pacific railroad for 35 years, frequently arguing before the 9th Circuit.
Anderson graduated from the University of Idaho Law School in 1949 and served as president of the Idaho State Bar.