Every week, NPRI President Andy Matthews writes a column for NPRI's week-in-review email. If you are not getting our emails, which contain our latest commentaries and news stories, you can sign up here to receive them.
We all knew that kid in school who was full of excuses when it came to missed homework assignments.
One day he was sick and couldn’t finish the essay, the next day he forgot it at home.
Unfortunately, lawyers with the Clark County School District are taking a nod from some of their more delinquent students when it comes to responding to our public records lawsuit against the district.
CCSD’s lawyers have filed not one, not two, but three 30-day extensions for their answering brief.
You may remember that NPRI has sued CCSD for refusing to follow Nevada’s public records law by not releasing the government-created, government-provided email addresses of government employees. Our case is currently before the Nevada Supreme Court, where we filed our opening brief on Jan. 16, 2014. The Americans Civil Liberties Union of Nevada also filed an amicus brief on our behalf on Jan. 28.
In its effort to defy Nevada’s public records act, CCSD has available its internal legal staff of about 10 lawyers and a budget of nearly $3.1 million, and CCSD has hired an outside firm with a staff of at least 40 attorneys in its Las Vegas office to respond to our lawsuit.
Yet on Feb. 18, when its answering brief was due, CCSD filed a 30-day extension. Fine. But when March 20 rolled around, guess who filed another 30-day extension. That’s right: CCSD and its team of lawyers.
Joseph Becker, the head of NPRI’s Center for Justice and Constitutional Litigation, immediately filed an opposition to these stalling tactics.
In its response, CCSD wrote that the “requested extension (only three short weeks away) will ensure that this case is carefully considered on its merits.” So what happened in “three short weeks,” when CCSD’s answer brief came due?
Another 30-day extension motion.
It’s beginning to feel like we’re in a Charlie Brown cartoon, with Lucy holding the football and promising, “This time will be different.”
I understand why CCSD wants to delay. The Nevada high court has a history of overturning decisions of lower courts that limit the public’s right to transparent government, and this case has garnered public support from the Nevada Press Association, the Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial board, Steve Sebelius and, as I mentioned before, the ACLU.
My only question for CCSD is this: Which excuse will you trot out when you request your next 30-day extension? That the dog ate your brief?
Until next time,
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