In a late breaking development today, reported by the Washington Post at 10:20 PM, Plaintiffs seek to block Justice Department from changing lawyers in census citizenship case. (And, indeed, for those of you who may not be expert in the finer point of American civil procedure, it is true the case that attorneys cannot just willy-nilly withdraw from representation in the middle of a litigation. The judge’s approval is required.)
The article tells us that
The filing comes in response to a request from the Justice Department attorneys on the case to withdraw.
The department had telegraphed the move a day earlier — saying it was replacing the team of career and political employees who had been handling the matter. A person familiar with the matter previously told The Washington Post that at least some of the career attorneys were frustrated with the handling of the case after President Trump ordered the department to explore more options for adding the citizenship question to the 2020 Census after the lawyers, seeing no other possibilities, had conceded defeat.
In asking to withdraw the attorneys from the case, the department argued that it did not expect the move would cause a “disruption.” But those suing said the department should articulate more clear reasons for the attorneys’ attempted withdrawal, arguing that government lawyers had previously made “rapidly shifting representations” to the court.
They also requested the judge “require any attorneys whose representations or conduct is at issue in the pending or forthcoming motions to attend any hearings on these motions or otherwise remain available to the Court and the parties to ensure the full and fair disposition of the pending motions.”
Let’s just savor the phrase: “’rapidly shifting representations’ to the court.”
Don’t you just love the way lawyers use words?