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May 22, 2020

Appellate Court Lawyer: Of All The Options the DC Court of Appeals Could Have Chosen in the Emmet Sullivan Matter, It Chose "The Most Extreme, Rare, and Drastic" of Them

Yesterday I wondered if it was a big deal that the DC Court of Appeals -- Emmet Sullivan's overseeing judges -- had issued the order to Sullivan to personally explain himself to them.

As a Twitter thread from an appellate court laywer found by John Sexton explains: Yes, it's a huge deal.

Most of the thread is below, but here are the main points:

1. The appellate court could have just dismissed this motion out of hand, which they do most of the time. (As I noted, when you're dealing with a jailhouse lawyer's frivolous filings, it's only a matter of time before he cries prejudice and demands a new judge.)

They did not do this, obviously. They're taking this seriously. That fact means that this motion has already cleared a "huge hurdle" -- the appellate court accepts that this is serious matter requring their attention and not just a desperate last-chance gamble.

2. They could have politely "invited" Sullivan to file a reply with the court. Which is friendly and collegial.

They did not. They "ordered" him to. Which is unfreindly and reminds Sullivan who the ranking officers are here.

3. They could have asked an amicus -- a friend of the court; a respected lawyer or judge or legal commentator -- to file a reply on Sullivan's behalf and thereby spare him the indignity of having to, effectively, defend himself and act as his own lawyer.

They did not do that. They insisted that Sullivan himself reply.

This all seems like good news.

The three judges on this panel were appointed by Reagan, Obama, and Trump.

I assume the Obama appointee is a loss -- this case, after all, is about the misbehavior of Obama's ministers and minions.

The Reagan appointee, I don't know. People always think that Reagan appointees must be conservative, but that's not true at all. Emmet Sullivan was a Reagan appointee, originally. This was back when there was no Federalist Society, and when, frankly, liberal Bushites were running most of the government anyway. So this one could go either way.

The Trump appointee, Rao, I assume is good draw for us.

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posted by Ace at 05:52 PM

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