Gibson’s had argued “Those who ignore the record, and distort the record, cannot be considered a ‘friend of the court.’”
The appeal brief of Gibson’s Bakery opposing the appeal of Oberlin College and Meredith Raimondo is due on August 5, after Gibson’s motion for a final extension of time was granted by the appeals court Magistrate. Gibson’s previously filed its Cross-Appeal Brief, seeking reinstatement of the full punitive damages verdict.
While the regular briefing has been pending, a group of media and other groups asked permission to file so-called Amicus (friend of the Court) briefs in support of the college’s appeal.
I covered those motions, and the Gibson’s opposition, in these posts:
- Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College – Appeal Brief Filed – NAACP Supporting College
- Media Groups and Law Profs rally to Oberlin College’s defense in Gibson’s Bakery Appeal
- Gibson’s Bakery: ‘Amicus’ Groups are “really only friends of the Oberlin Parties and not friends of the Court”
The Gibsons’ opposition centered on the claim that the proposed Amicus Briefs, among other things, were not postured as “friend of the court,” but rather, friends of Oberlin College, ignoring the actual record in the case and in some cases misstating the nature of the Gibsons’ claims.
That was similar to the points I made as to the NAACP brief:
The NAACP [proposed] Amicus Brief is the easiest to deal with. It’s a political document, not a legal argument. It’s clearly meant to try to shame and/or bully the court into thinking this case has national implications for race relations….
Despite being drafted by the national law firm Jenner & Block, it bears almost no relationship to the actual facts of this case. It pretends that this is a case about Oberlin College being held liable for supporting a student boycott of the bakery. It then cites cases about how support for boycott activity is protected, and how government officials can’t sue people who protest against them. None of that has anything to do with the legal theories upon which the Gibsons recovered….
That is a complete misstatement of what the case is about. A shocking misstatement, but the point of the brief clearly is to make this a case about race, which it is not.
All that said, I predicted:
What’s the likely outcome of the motions? The Court will allow the Amicus Briefs to be filed, but then ignore them.
The various Amicus groups filed their Replies to the Oberlin College opposition. The gravament of the Replies was that objecting to the substance of the motions was not a ground to deny the filing, and that the Gibsons were using the opposition as a chance to expand their page limits on their substantive briefs:
- Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College – Appeal – Reply of National Coalition Against Censorship In Support of Motion to File Amicus Brief
- Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College – Appeal – Reply of NAACP In Support of Motion to File Amicus Brief
- Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College – Appeal – Reply of Reporters Committee In Support of Motion to File Amicus Brief
And now, drumroll, the decision:
Upon review of the motions for leave to file amicus curiae briefs in support of
appellants and the responses in opposition, each of the motions is hereby granted, and the
amicus briefs are accepted. Pursuant to Loc.R. l(B) and 3(A), however, none of the entities
filing the amicus curiae briefs are deemed to be parties to the appeal, nor may they
participate in oral argument
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