On March 20th, the Judge ordered a teleconference
in which the following would be discussed:
- Whether the “good and substantial reason” language is severable.
- Whether the State will now issue a permit to Mr. Woollard.
- Assume the excision of the “good and substantial reason” requirement. How would Maryland's permitting system compare with the system in force in other states?
- In terms of handgun violence, how does Maryland compare with states with less restrictive permitting systems?
That teleconference came on March 22nd. We now have a bit more info in what the Judge is thinking about.
This morning, two docket entries have shown up. The first, Docket Entry #62
is a notice of a jointly proposed order. The second, Docket Entry #62.1
, is the draft proposal and a briefing schedule.
The proposed order is for an Injunction to be issued and a briefing on the Stay while at appeal.
It appears that the Judge, in the teleconference, indicated a willingness to impose the injunction. All that is left is to consider the Stay.
The briefing schedule on the Stay is as follows:
- The defendants shall submit an opening brief on or before April 19, 2012;
- The plaintiffs shall submit a response brief on or before May 9, 2012; and
- The defendants shall submit a reply brief on or before May 23, 2012.
This is only a proposal, but it may as well be set in stone, since both parties agree.
What this means is that an Injunction will be issued. Mr. Woollard will get his permit. A temporary Stay will be in effect while this matter is completely briefed. Within a couple of weeks after May 23rd, the Judge will issue his final opinion on the matter of the Stay. The clock then starts ticking on the appeals process.
The MD legislature will be out of session by this time, so there will be no chance of a legislative remedy any sooner than 2013. The 4th Circuit could have a ruling on this by that time.
Theoretically, the Governor could call an emergency session, but this is an election year and he would be foolish to call them back and take away from their chances of being reelected - actually, it would be political suicide to call an emergency session in an election year.
I should also note that this is all procedurally correct. Judge Legg doesn't want anything to come between his decision and an appeal (on other grounds).
I still suspect that he will deny the Stay, and toss the whole thing up to the 4th Circuit.