Yesterday, Judge McMahon granted the government’s request for more time to file a summary judgment motion in response to Freedom of Information Act lawsuits from the ACLU and the New York Times concerning (among other things) a secret legal memo first reported the New York Times justifying the targeted killing of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki. The government stated that it needed more time because its “position is being deliberated at the highest level of the Executive Branch.” The government supported its request with an ex parte confidential declaration from James R. Clapper, Jr., the Director of National Intelligence. Judge McMahon granted the request but not without a small dig at the government:
I have read Director Clapper’s declaration (which must remain under seal — believe me, I appreciate the irony) and I will grant the extension requested by the government.
(Hat tip: Reuters.) Judge McMahon frequently issues pointed letter endorsements. In response to a recent request to adjourn a conference because of counsel’s scheduling conflict, she simply wrote: “No — I am on trial. Send someone else.” And when the parties to a labor class action against KPMG sought a discovery conference, she wrote:
I expected the lawyers for both sides to narrow their requests and responses in light of my views on how we should deal with the pending issues. If KPMG is unwilling to cooperate in that endeavor, I will just abandon my effort to streamline the case, give you 6 months (no more) to complete ALL discovery, merits & expert, and let you have at it.