A frustrated federal judge just vowed to ignore shutdown and hear civil cases against Trump admin anyway


With the Trump-initiated government shutdown still going strong as it heads towards a second week without a resolution, it is not just those federal employees who have been furloughed or who are working without pay because they were deemed “essential” who are getting increasingly angry.

Even those members of the government who are only indirectly affected are beginning to lose their patience as well.

Take Judge Joseph R. Goodwin of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of West Virginia. Faced with a petition for a General Order which would require him to postpone any civil cases that the Department of Justice was involved with due to the “lapse of Congressional appropriations funding,” Judge Goodwin rebelled and refused to hold the government to a different standard than any other litigants before his court.

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Zoe Tillman, a reporter on legal and justice matters for BuzzFeed News, posted the Judge’s defiant order exempting any civil cases being tried before him from the District’s accommodation to the Justice Department over their funding woes and refusing to stay the cases simply because of the government’s inability to pay their legal staff.

Judge Goodwin makes the compelling argument that if the shoe was on the other foot, the opposing party in the litigation would not be offered any accommodation to delay their trial, so, therefore, neither should the Justice Department, in a fair invocation of the “good for the goose, good for the gander” principle of justice.


Judge Goodwin’s principled stance is a bold statement in the conservative and tradition-bound world of jurisprudence, but a necessary assertion of the judicial branch’s co-equal status with the legislative and executive branches of government under the Constitution.

The most interesting aspect of the judge’s order will come if and when the first case that the Justice Department has scheduled on the docket comes up before Trump’s shutdown is over. Will the Justice Department simply fail to show up to defend their position and forfeit their case? Or will they somehow find an “essential” employee to try the case?

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Hopefully for everyone involved, the shutdown will be over before we find out whether  Judge Goodwin will stand by his frustrated decision to penalize the DOJ for the internal government fiscal battles. If not, those named in the civil suits may have an unexpectedly easy defense ahead of them.

Join millions calling for AG Barr to resign after he defied his constitutional obligations to protect Trump!

Vinnie Longobardo

Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile, & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.