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October 05, 2012

Judge Lamberth slaps DC lawyers

An unhappy #judge pummeled DC's #lawyers this week, in a long-running free-speech case.

The Act Now to Stop Racism and End War Coalition and the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation filed the initial challenge to Washington, D.C.'s refusal to allow political posters on lampposts. The District's attorneys asserted no discovery was needed, and said it would seek none.

Uh oh. You do NOT want to mess with U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth on stuff like this.

In a sharply worded decision -- and, really, is there any other kind from Judge Lamberth? -- the court slapped D.C.'s lawyers for their "hypocrisy" and "disingenuous arguments" and "ridiculous" positions and "complete ignorance" and "baseless arguments that fly in the face of reality and common sense" of what was allowed. Stated the judge:

"Sadly, in this instance, (D.C.'s) counsel demonstrated neither prudence nor honesty."

It seems that, contrary to their prior position and contrary to a court order, the District propounded eleven interrogatories and a related request for document production.

Then, Judge Lamberth went on, "instead of admitting its mistake, the District decided to go all in" with discovery requests. And the judge was just getting started, going on to say:

"Given the history of this litigation, the District’s position and arguments are as untenable as they are ridiculous. Defendant asks this Court to enter an Orwellian world where all arguments are devoid of context, and all Court orders magically mean whatever the District wishes them to mean. The Court rejects this invitation."


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"Suits & Sentences" is a legal affairs blog written by Michael Doyle, a reporter for McClatchy's Washington Bureau. He was a Knight Journalism Fellow at Yale Law School, where he earned a Master of Studies in Law; he also earned a Masters in Government from The Johns Hopkins University with a thesis on the Freedom of Information Act. He teaches journalism as an adjunct instructor at The George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs.

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