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LinuxPlanet: .comment: Crunch Time

Dec 12, 2001, 14:04 (27 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Dennis E. Powell)
"...In a minute here, I'm going to give you the information necessary to get in touch with the people receiving the public comments that under the Tunney Act must be considered before the settlement is accepted. Before that, though, some caveats.

Public opinion rarely has a place in litigation. There are exceptions -- victims or their survivors making a statement before a person found guilty is sentenced, or occasions when Lance Ito is the judge and the case is televised -- but for the most part attempts to influence a judge are at minimum frowned upon and at maximum actionable.

And even in situations where public comment is allowed, as in U.S. v. Microsoft, judges are not especially comfortable with, nor likely to be influenced by, troublesome views contrary to the way things would unfold absent those comments. The judge has already expressed her wish that this case go away expeditiously. And we're asking her to throw out the settlement and impose something better, which would complicate her life and deny her the easy way out.

What's more, you can bet that Microsoft will have every lawyer and scholar it can buy submit long and learned tracts in support of the settlement, all to the effect that the Magna Carta pales by comparison to this settlement. Which is crap -- but I've already mentioned that Microsoft will sponsor it all."

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