This article says exactly what I said yesterday when I first started hearing details about the decision: The 9th Circuit is making fun of the Supreme Court's stupidity in Bush v. Gore. But Lithwick says it with far more wit than I ever could've managed:
Reading the opinion, you can almost hear the panel saying: "Hey, let's not just halt this recall, let's have a little fun with the thing!" The opinion includes a fond historical nod to voting with fava beans and the wry observation that punch cards are "intractably afflicted with technologic dyscalculia." It's tough to count the number of times the judges gleefully point out that the secretary of state is barred from defending the punch-card machines because he is already subject to a consent decree holding that they suck.
And the -- by my count -- 12 references to Bush v. Gore often carry the deliberate leadup: "Hey! It's just like the Supreme Court said in Bush v. Gore." Now, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the judges on the 9th Circuit haven't been lying awake at night, wondering when they might finally have revenge on the high court for years of abuse and disrespect. There are ample other explanations for 9th Circuit nuttiness (and I know because I clerked there): . . . .
But none of these explanations really offers the satisfaction inherent in my hypothesis: that the panel stuck it to the Supremes because it could. Just like the Supremes threw the 2000 election because it could.