The Doninger Case and Transit Disruptions
What a day!
10:40 PM. I am finally home after a very long day. Today, I went in to hear oral arguments about the Avery Doninger case at the Second Circuit. My father-in-law had spoken with me beforehand about what a beautiful courtroom it is. I agree, and a description of the courtroom deserves a blog post of its own.
There were three judges hearing the arguments on several different cases. The judges probably deserve their own blog post as well, as do the other cases. However, I was there to observe the Doninger case. The judges spent a lot of time hearing the other cases, often going over the allotted time for each case, and so the Doninger case didn’t start until about 3:45. Each side was to receive ten minutes for their oral arguments, and before Jon Schoenhorn, who was representing the Doningers got a chance to launch into his prepared remarks, the judges started peppering him with questions about Hazelwood.
Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier (doc. #: 86-836) was a case that addressed the issue, “To what extent, consistent with the First Amendment, may educators exercise editorial control over the contents of a high school newspaper produced as part of the school’s journalism curriculum?” It seemed a strange place to start, especially if there were only going to be twenty minutes for arguments. However, the questions went on and on from there. Nearly two hours later, the court adjourned.
The court does not allow you to bring cellphones into the courtroom, especially phones like mine that can be used to take pictures, so I left my cellphone with the U.S. Marshals. When I picked up my cellphone, I received several text messages from Kim about the building collapse that disrupted MetroNorth trains for several hours.
Even though the trains were supposed to be running again by the time the court adjourned, I figured that the train schedules, and the backlog of commuters would make the train trip back particularly complicated, so I went to dinner with the Doningers and Attorney Schoenhorn. Even after dinner, the trains were still not fully back on schedule and I rode a crowded train combining the 8:04 and the 8:07 train.
So now, I am home. I’ve taken a little time to write initial comments. I will head off to bed, and then write up more details about the court, the judges, the other cases, and the two hours of oral arguments of the Doninger case tomorrow morning when I’m not so tired.
While it was a long day, it was also a wonderful day. I am glad I got a chance to go see the case continue to unfold, and I urge everyone to pay closer attention to the judicial processes in our country.