This mandamus petition was argued on October 21, 2016. The resulting opinion and dissent were published seven days later, on October 28, 2016.
The opinion and dissent total 56 pages.
Incredibly speedy justice. And good writing by both sides.
It involves a case you've likely already heard about. Here's the first paragraph of Judge Bybee's opinion, and then the first paragraph of Judge Gould's dissent.
Judge Bybee says:
"Attorney Larry Klayman applied to be admitted pro hac vice in the highprofile
criminal trial of Cliven Bundy. The district court denied his application
without prejudice. Bundy has now asked this court for a writ of mandamus to
force the district court to admit Klayman. We decline to do so. Under our
decisions, the district court had more than ample cause to turn down Klayman’s
application: he is involved in an ethics proceeding before the District of Columbia
Bar, and he was not candid with the court about the status of those proceedings; he
disclosed that he was twice barred in perpetuity from appearing pro hac vice before
judges in the Central District of California and the Southern District of New York,
but he failed to list numerous cases—all available on Westlaw or LEXIS—in
which he has been reprimanded, denied pro hac vice status, or otherwise
sanctioned for violating various local rules; and he has a record of going after
judges personally, and shortly after Chief Judge Gloria Navarro denied his
application, Bundy filed a frivolous Bivens action against her in her own court.
This litany of reasons for denying Klayman pro hac vice status demonstrates that
the district court did not abuse its discretion, much less commit clear error."
Wow. I must say, that's a darn persuasive introduction.
Here's how Judge Gould begins his response:
"We confront in this case an unusual confluence of circumstances. A highly
controversial criminal defendant is a few months away from an enormous trial
effort in which he and eighteen other individuals are defendants. The defendant’s
chosen attorney has been denied admission pro hac vice to the district court, raising
in my mind serious concerns about the defendant’s ability to mount a vigorous
defense and receive a fair trial. Despite the majority’s expressed apprehensions
about the chosen attorney’s willingness to follow the rules of professional conduct
and the orders of the district court, while recognizing the high standards for
mandamus relief, I would hold that the writ should issue. My concerns about the
defendant’s ability to present a strong defense and receive a fundamentally fair trial
are simply too great, leading to my dissent."
Personally, I think Judge Bybee has the better of the argument. The stuff in his opinion about Mr. Klayman is really devastating, I think. I might well deny the guy pro hac vice status as well (though I might admit him provisionally, and see if he can follow the rules); regardless, I don't think it's a clear abuse of discretion to do so sufficient to justify mandamus relief.
But both opinions are nonetheless worth reading. They definitely tell a tale.