Court Grants DOJ Extension for Wire Act Case Briefs
The date was quickly approaching.
Next week, the first official brief was due to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.
However, instead of abiding by the court’s deadline and moving this case along, US Attorney General William Barr and his Justice Department filed for an extension. And it was granted, meaning the new due date for the appellants’ brief is December 20, 2019.
Happy holidays, eh?
Briefing Schedule Pushed Back
The defendants in the Wire Act case – US Attorney General William Barr, the US Department of Justice, and the United States of America – became the appellants when they filed their appeal on August 16.
The case was taken up by the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. On October 3, the court set a briefing schedule, with the appellants’ brief and appendix due November 12.
On November 1, the court acknowledged a motion from Barr, the DOJ, and the US to extend time for filing the brief and appendix. Three days later, the court granted that motion. The new due date was set as December 20, 2019.
That puts the overall paperwork schedule as follows:
–DOJ, US, and Barr brief and appendix due December 20
–NJ Lottery Commission and Neopollard brief due 30 days after original brief is served
–DOJ, US, and Barr reply brief due 21 days after appellee brief is served
DOJ Might Be Busy
It’s probably safe to assume that the US Department of Justice is always busy. These days, however, the DOJ is under a bit more pressure than usual.
Attorney General Barr is consistently in the news in relation to Trump administration policies, lawsuits, and controversies. The DOJ is regularly issuing memos, trying to stop its employees from testifying in Congressional hearings, and juggling both sides of numerous investigations.
Go to any news website, enter DOJ in the search bar, and the sheer number of articles that appear will give an indication of how many irons the DOJ has in the fire right now.
It is understandable that the Wire Act is not its top priority.
Even so, Barr seems determined to appeal the US District Court ruling with relation to the Wire Act and move forward with the case. It will just happen on a bit of a delayed schedule.
Detour on a Very Long Road
The five-week delay for the first brief in this stage of the case is minor when looking at its potential trajectory in the long run.
While the US District Court ruled for the plaintiffs, the US Court of Appeals decision cannot be predicted. But what is predicted is that no matter the upcoming decision – likely in the first half of 2020 – it will be appealed to the US Supreme Court.
Even Circuit Court Judge Barbadoro predicted that the case was on that path. He called it one of the most challenging statutory constructions he had ever seen and felt that it would very likely be taken to the Supreme Court for a final decision.
With that in mind, the current delay of five weeks for the first brief in this stage of the process is only an example of what is yet to come.
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- DOJ Files Brief in Wire Act Case and Extends Enforcement Date
- Wire Act Case Court of Appeals Briefs Due in Two Weeks
- US Court of Appeals May Hear Wire Act Case in Early 2020
- US Department of Justice Appeals District Court Wire Act Decision
- US District Judge Sets Aside Recent DOJ Wire Act Opinion
- Third Lawsuit Filed to Challenge Latest DOJ Wire Act Decision
- Rosenstein to Leave DOJ, Giving Wire Act to New AG