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The Shutdown and the Courts

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How will the first iteration of Republican hostage-taking affect the federal courts? Well, they’ll remain open, but should the shutdown last beyond next week ordinary workers will of course start to get screwed.

Er, I mean have their “false consciousness” burned off and lead us to utopia.

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  • West of the Cascades

    I spent most of the day yesterday dealing with DOJ civil division attorneys seeking stays of proceedings in my cases (public interest environmental litigation) — some asking for extensions of deadlines equal to however long the shutdown lasts, some asking for three or four weeks just to clear their calendars.

    Some of these delays will have ripple effects such that it may be an additional two or three months before we can get decisions in cases (because the delay of one brief bounces the responsive brief deadline into the holidays, which bounces things into next year, etc). So the shutdown is already having a negative impact on the ability to get speedy justice just by disrupting the ability of parties, counsel and the courts to manage the docket and their calendars.

  • Given how popular the program appears to be, I suspect this will be a short-lived tantrum

  • Brenda Johnson

    West, we had the same kind of day. All the FTCA actions we’ve brought in our office (personal injury firm) are now in limbo. What a pain.

  • Denverite

    At least the shutdown hit after the CJRA came out. I suspect my judge would have had a heart attack if he had to scramble getting motions off the six month list while dealing with it.

    • West of the Cascades

      would that be suggesting that a clerk’s life right before the CJRA deadline is like an accountant’s before April 15th?

      • Denverite

        Not nearly that bad, because you can see (and handle) stuff way far in advance. We’d usually meet three months in advance to discuss what was going to be on it and make sure everyone could get the drafts to the big guy in time. By a month or so ahead of the deadline, I only ever had a couple of things I had to scramble to get done (and only one thing ever lingered until a couple of weeks before the deadline).

  • John Boehner

    It’s good to know that Jon Walker is still History’s Greatest Monster.

  • Richard

    I have a court appearance this Friday at the Joshua Tree Vistor’s Center in Joshua Tree National Park. Despite the fact that the park and the visitor’s center is closed, a park ranger is going to be opening the center so that the several court appearances can go on.

    So far, its business as normal in the federal courts where I practice (at least for cases where the government is not a party) but we’ve been told to expect new rules – shorter office hours, delays in processing, etc – if the situation isn’t resolved by October 10.

    • anthrofred

      IANAL, so this is fascinating to me: you actually have appearances in National Parks? What for? How does that procedure work?

      • anthrofred

        …as I fail to read for parody.

        • West of the Cascades

          Not necessarily parody (although I don’t know what the circumstances are here) — National Parks are often the federal operations with the largest meeting rooms in any given remote area. There are U.S. Magistrate Judges who sit in Yosemite NP and Yellowstone NP http://www.uscourts.gov/news/TheThirdBranch/02-08-01/The_Best_Job_in_the_U_S_Two_Magistrate_Judges_Call_Parks_Home.aspx

          Just speculating, but my guess is that one of the Magistrate Judges in the Central District of California may have hearings out at Joshua Tree National Park, because the normal courthouses for that District are all in the far western area — it makes it more convenient for parties that are located in the far eastern part to appear in Joshua Tree rather than have to go over to near LA.

      • Richard

        My client, the son of my best friend, was cited in Joshua Tree by a ranger for being a minor in possession of alcohol and not giving his correct name to the ranger, both misdemeanors. The arraignment, which is where we are likely to enter into a plea agreement, is held at the Joshua Tree Visitor Center where a magistrate comes out once a month to handle criminal matters, mostly misdemeanors. Its the first time I’ve ever appeared on a legal matter in a national park so the procedure is new to me.

        This weekend there is also a big celebration/concert in Joshua Tree and nearby for the 40th anniversary of the death of Gram Parsons. Some friends of mine are playing the gig so I’m going to be staying over for that despite the fact that the park is closed.

  • ChrisTS

    As a glimmer of a silver lining, NYT suggests this is hurting Ken Cuccinelli.

  • karen marie

    Transcriptionists who do federal stuff are on hiatus till things get back to normal, and then they’ll have to catch up with the backlog to meet filing deadlines without the luxury of charging for shorter delivery times. Isn’t trickle-down grand?

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