In the last few minutes Judge Mehta held a hearing for the Kennedy v Trump case which was the case with about 1000 plaintiffs seeking some additional relief separate to (or in addition to) the Gomez cases.

The legal team had filed a 1200 page complaint in this case, and the Judge was clear that he had not had sufficient time to digest all of it.

Pretty early on in the hearing the Judge was keen to see why the additional case was even necessary since the Gomez case had already achieved some relief with the orders on Sept 4 and 14. He mentioned the case seemed duplicative of the Gomez case and wanted help to understand how it was different. This is a weakness of the case in a sense because the existing case is “perfectly good”.

However, the plaintiff lawyers pointed out the main difference is that the Kennedy case has a number of people that are affected by travel bans and other travel restrictions and the government has continued to use to not issue visas. That represents a group of plaintiffs that are not currently helped by the Gomez order.

The lawyers also asserted that KCC has told non named plaintiffs that they would not get an interview and that only named plaintiffs would be helped. The Judge was very interested in that assertion BUT I’m not sure the wording from KCC or any embassy has been that clear. To clarify, the Gomez order covered EVERYONE. BUT it prioritized named plaintiffs and the order did not say that KCC or the embassies would be wrong to prioritize the work. Common sense then says if there is no remaining time then it is reasonable that KCC or embassies to state that they can’t help ALL cases because of time constraints.

During the hearing the Judge dropped a big hint that DV2020 winners are likely to get some “additional relief” (an extension), but he did not say what form that would take. The point he was making was that Kennedy plaintiffs would therefore presumably also benefit from that additional relief.

The Judge then set some timelines for the Kennedy case as follows.

  • Defense to file response by end of day Sept 25th.
  • Plaintiff response to the defense response by 5pm Eastern on the 28th
  • Hearing for oral arguments on 29th at 2pm (Remember the Gomez case hearing is 2pm on the 28th).

So – the legal arguments continue….