Cause and Effect – How About September?

Cause and Effect
Boston College in-house lawyer takes vacation, delays their appeal
Chris Bray
MONDAY, APRIL 9, 2012

Okay, this is funny.

For months, the government lawyers arguing in court for the subpoenas of archival material at Boston College have sounded a persistent note of urgency: This is a murder investigation! There’s no time for delay! Reflecting this urgency, the government pushed for an expedited schedule in the First Circuit, trying to resolve the legal appeals over the subpoenas as quickly as possible. (See, for example, this scheduling order in the appeal filed by Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre: “The government’s request for an expedited briefing schedule is allowed. “)

Then came April 4, when the government’s lawyer was left baffled and babbling by the questions from a panel of appellate judges in the Moloney and McIntyre appeal. Suddenly? Not so urgent. Below, a motion from Boston College’s lawyers to slow down the briefing schedule in the university’s separate and more limited appeal in the same case. Taste the funny: “The Government has authorized Boston College to advise the Court that the Government assents to this motion, and does so with the hope that briefing in this case will proceed expeditiously and that the case will be ready for argument by this Court’s September sitting.”

Boston College, and their frenemies in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston, hope that briefing in this case will proceed expeditiously so that argument can happen soon. In, like, maybe let’s skip the rest of the spring and the whole summer and go for, I don’t know, early autumn?

Why the suddenly discovered need for a delay, in a motion filed two days after Eamonn Dornan and the ACLU of Massachusetts succeeded in thoroughly upending the government’s arguments in court? The explanations from Boston College are as funny as the delay itself: “In-house counsel for Boston College reviewing and contributing to the brief has a previously long-scheduled vacation commitment out of the Boston area from April 13 to April 22, 2012.”

previously long-scheduled vacation suddenly necessitates an unanticipated delay in the briefing schedule that will push oral argument from June to September. Your honor, who could have guessed that a previously long-scheduled conflict would suddenly arise right after the government had a terrible day in court and the judges made fun of the idea that Boston College adequately represents the interests of its researchers, causing laughter in the courtroom? That previously long-scheduled vacation was a total curveball, for sure.

How About September