OK then. I'm going to back up and reiterate what I said earlier and add some fine(r) points, hopefully to clarify my thinking for everyone.
In my fantasy, I see Judge Kendall granting the City's MTD for mootness, the case will be brought back to the 7th Circuit, which will
be with the same panel (they are familiar with the case as they have ruled on it once before) as before. That panel will grant the injunction (thereby smacking the living daylights out of the district Judge) and holds the City in contempt.
That's not really such a fantasy, at first blush... except for perhaps the contempt charge (but read on).
Regardless, the City will respond on 09-12-2011 (it was originally set for 09-06-2011, but the Judge is giving the City an extra week). The Judge will issue her ruling by mail (Minute entry #117, made on 08-17 - this basically strikes her previous Minute entry #116, made on 08-11).
In other words, the Judge has automagically given the City more time to file their response, without the City having to request it. This shows bias. There is a reason that Alan Gura did not object to this.
My conjecture at this point is that Judge Kendall is not taking the 7th's ruling on the injunction seriously. My reasoning is rather simple. Sixty days will have passed since the 7th mandated that the injunction be applied and this judge is taking all the time in the world to rule on a very, very weak MTD by the defendants, as if there is no injury to the plaintiffs. Contrary to the "irreparable harm" ruling by the 7th Circuit. Hence my "fantasy," above.
Here's the deal: Chicago no longer has "clean" hands. As long as they keep playing these type of games, they are essentially making it easier and easier for our side to win where it counts. At the Circuit level.
I would actually prefer that Judge Kendall grant the motion for mootness. The 7th has already signaled that they are not going to play nice with Chicago. They will
grant and issue the preliminary injunction... At this point, they might make it a permanent injunction. [Supposition-->] They may (it is within their authority) appoint a Special Master to oversee the whole process of allowing gun ranges. That would strip Judge Kendall of any remaining authority in this case (and that is a Judicial back-hand and could conceivably end her career - she gets all the cases no one else wants for as long as she remains on the bench - and yes, that has happened in the past).
Regardless, onerous zoning issues will be off the table. Precedent will be set that will affect several other cases. If it happens fast enough, it could very well tip the Supreme Court in its decision to grant cert in Williams
(I'm predicting we hear nothing about these cases until just before thanksgiving - plenty of time for all this to happen).
Alan Gura is simply sitting back watching both the City and this Judge rip themselves a new one. That is why Gura didn't object to the Judge granting more time to Chicago. It's simply more rope. While frustrating for us, this is actually making his job easier.
Regardless of what else is going on, the 7th Circuits decision in Ezell
is now solid law in the 7th Circuit. It is also solid, citable and persuasive precedent everywhere else.