Documents below. Document 267-2 is the one to read. Excerpts:
The Panel’s decision is a perfect storm of procedural irregularity. The Panel (1) raised the removal issue sua sponte, without notice to the parties or the district court judge, without any request or complaint from the parties, and long after the City waived an opportunity to seek removal; (2) based its decision impermissibly on matters outside the appellate record; and (3) denied the parties an opportunity to be heard on alleged improprieties, even though Plaintiffs may suffer prejudice from reassignment to a judge unfamiliar with the complexities of this case. Given the Panel’s stay of all proceedings before the district court and the opportunity to consider alleged improprieties in the ordinary course of merits briefing, the removal of Judge Scheindlin appears gratuitous and deeply flawed.
This extraordinary action merits review by the full court. First, in its haste to remove the district judge, the Panel exercised appellate jurisdiction in contravention of strict congressional prohibitions against piecemeal appellate review and long-standing precedent in this Court. Because this Court lacks jurisdiction over the City’s underlying appeal, the Panel entered the Mandate without authority.
Second, impugning the ethics of a district court judge who for years presided over a significant proceeding, when the parties themselves never raised the issue, must follow appropriate procedural rules to ensure any resulting removal or reassignment is fair, warranted, and just. The Panel here dispensed with even the most basic procedures – notice and an opportunity to be heard – without evident need, and offered no explanation for such extraordinary action. Plaintiffs – and the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers they represent – may and have already suffered substantial prejudice by the unprecedented actions of a panel of this court and by reassignment to a judge unfamiliar with the complicated and extensive facts of this case – familiarity that is necessary to ultimately impose fair and effective relief. It is not apparent that the Panel even considered this potential prejudice.