So just around 24 hours ago I published a form where people could provide their details in order that the legal team from the AILA could pick some representative plaintiffs in various countries, regions and stages of the process.
The response has been overwhelming – we have over 1100 cases who have offered to be plaintiffs – covering well over 2000 selectees with family. At this point I am going to close the form, because pretty much every scenario and region has been represented, and from many countries. Some of you decided to describe your circumstances, and what the lottery has meant to you and your families. The stories are heartbreaking, and I don’t believe any decent person could remain cold-hearted when reading these stories. I won’t be publishing any specifics from these stories to respect your privacy, but you have been heard, loud and clear.
The team of lawyers at AILA and the Justice Action Center wanted me to make sure that you all know they have heard you, they aren’t ignoring you, and they will do all they can to fight for you.
So what will happen next.
Well the lawyers have had realtime access to the data collected in the form. So they have all the names, case numbers family names and so on. They need to go through the list and pick (somewhat randomly) cases that “represent” a group of people. So – that means if they had 100 cases from a region all at the same stage, they would not need to list all 100 names as plaintiffs, but they would pick one or two of those names. In that way they will build a list of cases/names that represent all selectees in the same position. This is important because if they win, they win for ALL the selectees, whether you are named or not, whether you filled in your details or not. That is what they are trying to achieve.
Now – it is NOT possible to predict the outcome. These are an excellent team of lawyers and have been successful in challenging and blocking the government multiple times before. But there are no guarantees – it will be up to a federal judge to decide.
Some have asked when the court case will be filed and heard. I can’t predict that exactly, the lawyers need time to prepare a case, it is not something they should rush, but they are aware of the time sensitivity.
Some have asked will this go to the supreme court. Well – to get to the supreme court, a case must first be heard in a lower court – in our case a federal court. But it’s important to note that a federal court has the power to issue a TRO (Temporary Restraining Order) which could immediately block the Executive order. That court would consider doing that if people are being harmed by the EO (which of course, is clear). That is one possible outcome, though not guaranteed. The court would then set a date for a later hearing, but in the meantime the EO would be blocked. So – that would be a great outcome. There are perhaps other ways it could work out, but we will see in due course.
Of course, we STILL have the problem that the embassies are closed. Challenging the ban does NOT force the embassies to reopen. So – we much continue to monitor the opening strategies by the embassies. But the legal challenge, if successful, would at least give us the most time possible before the deadline of September 30th.
Regarding the deadline of September 30th – it cannot be extended. Once we are past that date, any remaining chances are gone. All we can do is hope the legal challenge works AND that the embassies reopen.