There is no way of knowing what will happen in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Tuesday, April 17, 2012, when the motion for a stay pending appeal in the Occupy New Haven case is argued. All that is certain is the time and place: 500 Pearl Street, 9th floor at 10:00 a.m. The court could decide right then and there to dissolve or continue the stay, ruling from the bench, as lawyers say. Or the court could issue a written opinion some time later.
I am betting on a quick decision. I suspect by the time the three-judge panel takes the bench, a decision will already be made.
Oral argument before a federal appellate court is pure pleasure. These courts are truly the court of last resort for most folks. The U.S. Supreme Court hears so few cases that the nations’s federal appellate courts share the policy-making function of high courts everywhere.
In the Occupy case, the court must decide whether to permit the appellants, the occupiers, to remain on the New Haven until such time as their appeal of the District Court order rejecting their claim for permanent injunctive relief against the City and the shadowy entity that owns the Green, the Committee of Proprietors of Common and Undivided Lands, from removing them. The appellate court arguments will be a much briefer version of what took place in the District Court. There will no evidence taken, for example, and argument is likely to be lively with judges peppering the lawyers with questions seriatum.
Stay tuned for a decision.