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  • Writer's picturePhil Griffis

Judge Rules in Favor of Jose Hernandez, But Does Not Explain His Ruling

As reported earlier in this blog, the California judge presiding over the contest to congressional candidate Jose Hernandez’s election designation ruled that the state need not strike the designation for alleged inaccuracies.  So Mr. Hernandez’s designation of his occupation as “Astronaut” will carry forward in the election process.  The judge did not, however, provide reasons for his ruling. 

Certainly it would have been interesting to learn his thought process.  It is possible that he decided the case based on a detailed analysis of whether Mr. Hernandez’s designation technically complied with the complicated California election laws.  Or, he may have simply decided that the suit was ridiculous on its face.  We may never know, as the judge decided to keep his reasoning private.  Judges frequently do this.  If they provide detailed reasoning the losing party can focus on those reasons in its appeal.  But if the judge provides no reasoning,  then the appellate court can affirm the ruling on any basis it can find for doing so.  So a ruling without reasoning, while not as interesting, provides the judge with extra “cover” in the event of an appeal.


Phil Griffis obtained his first jury verdict in 1990, when he convinced a jury that a customer’s fall at his client’s store did not cause the customer’s aspiration pneumonia and stroke. In the years since he has continued to win in courtrooms across the State of Texas.

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