Monday, June 13, 2005

Menotti v. City of Seattle (9th Cir. - June 2, 2005)

Wow. Battles beget battles, I guess.

Let me warn you that these are long opinions. That said, it's definitely well worth the tme to read this case, which concerns the constitutionality of the "No Protest Zone" created by the City during the "Battle for Seattle" in connection with the 1999 WTO conference. There's some great stuff in both Judge Gould's majority opinion and in the partial dissent by Judge Paez. Which perhaps is not totally surprising given both the importance of the issue as well as the fact that, even after oral argument, it took the court another a year and a half to write the opinions. That's a long time.

And it shows. Both opinions are really powerful. Plus -- and here's where the "Battles beget battles" stuff comes in -- they're extremely interactive. Judge Gould slams Judge Paez. Pretty hard. And Judge Paez gives about as good as he gets. Make sure to read the footnotes. That's where a ton of the fireworks are. And there's some pretty darn harsh stuff in there. From two judges not legendary for their incendiary behavior. This is a fight that really brought out some provocative language. Very. Which is always interesting to read.

Be sure not to skip Section I of the dissent. The majority does a great job of articulating a description -- in substantial detail -- of a lot of the violence that surrounded the Battle. And Section I of the dissent identifies a lot of conduct by the police that's got to disturb anyone in a democracy. So two great visions. Which made the case a joy to read. Spend the time. It's worth it.