Jordan Rubin, a legal blog writer at MSNBC, is getting very very nervous to the point of appearing to anxiously rub worry beads over the delay the U.S. Court of Appeals is taking to rule on Donald Trump’s immunity appeal which threatens to also delay his J6 trial scheduled for March 4. Here is Rubin on Friday in a state of high anxiety over the appeal delay in “What’s taking the Trump immunity appeal ruling so long?”
It’s been more than two weeks and still no word from the U.S Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit panel that heard argument Jan. 9. While there’s no single satisfying answer to this pressing question, there are some factors we can identify to help understand what’s at play.
First, the judges know that this opinion needs to be airtight. Whatever they decide will inevitably be appealed, which would mean not only their colleagues on the full D.C. Circuit — in what’s known as en banc review — but also potentially Supreme Court justices reviewing their work. While some observers are eager for a ruling as soon as possible to avoid further delay of Trump’s federal election interference trial, which technically is set to start March 4, whether the opinion takes weeks instead of days isn’t the judges’ greatest concern. That said, the court agreed to consider the case on an expedited timeline — they didn’t do that to take months to issue a ruling, even if they might wish they had more time for this historic case.
You can almost hear poor Rubin’s worry beads rubbing against each other as he agonizes that, despite the case being considered on an expedited timeline, it is now being delayed because of what Rubin claims to possibly be annoying dissenting judges gumming up the works for liberals anxious to see the March 4 J6 trial to commence on time, so to imagine Trump convicted before voting in the general election begins.
Of course, some disagreements are insurmountable, which leads to dissent. If a judge is intent on dissenting here, then that could take more time for the respective opinions to respond to one another. That is, if you look at decisions that have dissents in them, you may see majority and dissenting opinions responding to the other opinion’s position, which can take more time to sort out with the back-and-forth. Sometimes a dissenter can be brought along to the majority view during the drafting process.
Under any of these scenarios, then, you can see what may build additional time into the process. Again, that doesn’t specifically answer the question of why it would take, say, three weeks instead of two weeks to reach a ruling, but those might be some of the things that the judges are grappling with.
Rubin’s current immunity appeal delay anxiety hilariously contrasts with his recent confidence on January 9 when he declared that “The D.C. Circuit is hearing the case on an expedited timeline, so we can expect a quick ruling.”