Friday, April 29, 2011

Eighth Circuit Issues Temporary Stay; Reinstates Lockout (UPDATED)

(Updated below.)

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a an "administrative stay" of Judge Nelson's decision lifting the lockout. This is a temporary measure, in place until the underlying motion for a stay can be decided, probably early next week. This was a 2-1 decision. The two judges in the majority were appointed by President George W. Bush; the dissenter is an appointee of President Bill Clinton. It is not clear if this is the same panel that will decide the underlying stay request on Monday.

Stay tuned for more details.

UPDATED: The majority -- Judges Steven Colloton and William Benton -- granted the NFL a temporary administrative stay with little discussion. They wrote, "The purpose of this administrative stay is to give the court sufficient opportunity to consider the merits of the motion for a stay pending appeal.", cited a few cases, and concluded, "The district court's order of April 25, 2011 is temporarily stayed." The majority framed this as an issue of basically putting things on hold while it considered the merits of the NFL's stay motion (which will get full briefed on Monday morning and considered shortly thereafter).

Judge Kermit Bye dissented. He argued that the stay should only be used for emergency situations, such as when an immigrant is about to be deported or when a prisoner is about to be executed. He wrote, "The NFL has not persuaded me this [an] emergency situation which justifies the grant of a temporary stay . . . . If we ultimately grant the motion for a stay, the NFL can easily re-establish its lockout. The NFL is certainly not in the same emergency position as an immigrant about to be removed, or an individual about to be executed".

Note that this decision puts the lockout back in place only for a few days, when the Court will decide whether the lockout should be reinstated for the entirety of the appeal (which will take weeks if not months). To win such a ruling, the NFL will have to show that it would suffer "irreparable harm". In this regard, it is telling that Judge Bye wrote, "the NFL has failed to satisfy me it will suffer any irreparable harm from allowing the district court's order to take effect."

We do not know who will be on the three-judge panel that ultimately decides the stay request, but Judge Bye's dissent suggests that, if he is on the panel, the NFL will have its work cut out to convince him of the harm it is suffering.

Note also that Judges Colloton and Benton did not discuss the merits of the case at all, so it is impossible to know what they think of the case itself.

5 comments:

  1. You are doing an outstanding job of following this and reporting on it. Thank you so much for taking the time to break it down. The mainstream media distorts what is really going on.

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  2. When will we know if the same judges will be ruling on the actual stay?

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  3. @7:44, thanks. @7:46, I'm not sure. Usually the panel that decides the motion is the one that is sitting on the day the motion is "submitted", or fully briefed. I think the motion will be submitted on Monday, but I don't know what the 8th Circuit's rules are. I know some appeals courts announce panels ahead of time (e.g, "These are the judges sitting next week"), but I haven't found that yet for the 8th Circuit.

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  4. Looks like the 8th circuit is in between sittings right now. Had one in mid-April and won't have another until mid-May. It's likely that this motion was ruled on via teleconference or something else. It makes sense that the same judges would hear it since theyve already read the briefs and worked on the case.

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