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Circuit sets alien law review

NOTE TO READERS:  The following is an update on a post published earlier Friday.


The Ninth Circuit Court refused on Friday to put the constitutional test over Arizona’s authority to control illegal aliens living within its borders on the especially fast schedule that the state had asked, adopting instead a plan that follows its normal pace for handling cases of this kind.  A panel of the Court refused to “expedite the appeal beyond” what Circuit Court rules specified, thus agreeing with the Justice Department (see the post below the jump).  The Court’s order is here.

Under the schedule that now will apply, the merits briefing will be completed by Oct. 7, and the oral argument will be held during the week of Nov. 1; it will be held in San Francisco.  It thus is clear that there will be no ruling by the Circuit Court on a case that has very heavy political overtones until after the nation casts its votes in a new congressional election on Nov. 2.

Following is the earlier post:

The Justice Department on Thursday joined the state of Arizona in urging a federal appeals court to put review of the state’s new alien control law on a fast track.  The Department, however, asked for a different briefing schedule than the state had proposed.  The U.S. response is here.

The state earlier Thursday had filed its plea in the Ninth Circuit Court for expedited review of a federal judge’s decision blocking parts of the state’s law from taking effect earlier that day.  It suggested that briefing be completed by Sept. 2, with an oral argument to be held in the week of Sept. 13.   The Justice Department argued that the Circuit Court’s existing rule for such cases provided the proper schedule, giving each side more time to prepare merits briefs than the state had recommended.   The rule, it argued, “fully accommodates the interest in achieving expedited review, without needlessly foreshortening the time for preparing the parties’ appellate briefs in this important case.”

Under the rule, the Department said, briefing would be completed by Oct. 7, with oral argument scheduled after that at the Court’s “earliest convenience.”   The state, it argued, has made no case for cutting about in half the time for preparing merits briefs in the case.

It will be up to the Ninth Circuit’s motions panel to decide on a briefing and argument schedule, assuming that expedited treatment is granted.