It’s good news for Ezekiel Elliott that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit decided to conduct a Thursday hearing for the next intermediate step of his litigation. The composition of the three-judge panel may be good news for the NFL.
The three judges assigned to the motion to stay the suspension are Dennis Jacobs, Debra Livingston, and Christopher Droney. Judge Jacobs was nominated to the position by President George H.W. Bush, Judge Livingston was nominated by President George W. Bush, and Judge Droney was nominated by President Barack Obama. Based on the loose, superficial analysis tracing to the political affiliations of the presidents who concluded that these judges will interpret and apply the law in a manner consistent with each president’s political wishes, a 2-1 outcome could be coming, in favor of the NFL.
That said, the party-line approach may not apply as strongly in this specific situation, because this isn’t a ruling on the merits of the case. Instead, it’s a ruling that flows from the basic question of whether NFL players should be allowed to wait to serve suspensions until their legal rights have been resolved.
That continues to be the most compelling aspect of the case, at this juncture. The NFL doesn’t suspend a player until his internal appeal rights are resolved; why suspend him before his external appeal rights are resolved? And why take action aimed at making his external appeal rights meaningless?
Thus. it would be easier, for now, for Judge Jacobs or Judge Livingston to ignore the pro-business ideals of the Republican party and rule in favor of Elliott, since basic fairness seems to favor letting him serve his suspension once he has a chance to pursue his rights fully and completely.