Jackson goes in frame as MS appeal court orders ‘bias’ session

Baffled Redmond lawyers get something they didn't ask for

Microsoft has been given an unexpected present by the Court of Appeals, in the shape of an unasked for 30 minute session on Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's conduct of the trial, and his alleged mouthiness outside of the court.

This of course was something Microsoft was motoring on until quite recently. Jackson's determination to get through the proceedings before everybody died was tagged by Fort Redmond as unfair, because it meant the company was unable to make its case properly. And Jackson just had to say the M-word outside of the trial for Microsoft to start raving on about prejudicial extrajudicial comment.

That was then, and possibly also now. But it wasn't last week, when a joint 'sweetness and light' filing from Microsoft and the DoJ and friends indicated that they were going to have the big argument on the facts, rather than on the Good Judge himself. Right up front the filing says the two sides "are prepared to rest on written submissions as to (1) the conduct of the trial, other than the procedures employed as to relief, and (2) the extrajudicial statements of the district judge."

The Appeals judges have effectively nixed that by ordering a 30 minute oral session on "conduct of trial and extrajudicial statements." Which is perfectly clear, isn't it?

Why they want to do it might not be so clear. It could be that they've a mind to view Microsoft's apparent climb-down (which was what it was spun into) on beating up Jackson as overly sporting, and want to pursue the matter. Alternatively, they might just have noted that they're going to get piles of written stuff on the matter anyway, because that's actually what the joint filing says, so their lives will be easier if they just get the opposing suits to stand up and deliver a precis.

Note also that the joint filing specifically exempts "the procedures employed as to relief" from Microsoft's kind undertaking not to beat up Jackson orally. Those very procedures have been one of Redmond's major gripes, so he was probably going to catch it big-time anyway.

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