June 8, 2021

Guess Which Retired Attorney General Wants The Court To Order The MLB All Star Game Back To Atlanta?

Guess Which Retired Attorney General Wants The Court To Order The MLB All Star Game Back To Atlanta?

Ed Meese is back? Really? What kind of demonic invocations have the Stanford FedSoc kids been getting up to?

But here he is, Reagan’s Attorney General, in the flesh, arguing in an amicus brief filed on behalf of the American Constitutional Rights Union that Major League Baseball should just shut up and play its All Star Game in Atlanta.

After an exegesis on the beauty of Georgia’s new vote suppression law, Meese tut-tuts that MLB is “wading into this political and legal controversy — and taking the incorrect side of the legal dispute” and “potentially violat[ing] their legal obligations to their stakeholders by dividing the business’s customer base” when it should be paying attention to “the financial success of their business.

“For all these reasons,” he concludes, “the court should order Defendants to reverse their business decision, and move the All-Star Game back to Atlanta, Georgia.”

It’s a feat of trolling, if not of legal reasoning, which is par for the course in this case filed by Kraken lawyer Howard Kleinhendler to force MLB to reverse its decision to move the All Star Game to Colorado in protest of Georgia’s recently passed election law. On behalf of his client, the nominally non-partisan Job Creators Network (JCN), Kleinhendler argues that public financing of stadiums renders MLB a state actor, and that the decision to move the game violates the Equal Protection Clause, the Privileges and Immunities Clause and the Dormant Commerce Clause.

In “Your Honor, WTF?!?” motions filed yesterday, MLB and the Players Association (MLBPA) argue that JCN lacks standing to assert the (non-existent) legal right of its members to sell beer to baseball fans the second weekend in July, and even if it does have standing, there’s no need for an injunction because JCN “cannot meet its burden of demonstrating a ‘clear’ or ‘substantial’ likelihood of success on the merits, because all of its claims are legally defective.”

Moreover as MLB points out, “despite its claims of exigency, JCN spent the last two months putting up billboards in Times Square and running inflammatory advertisements in The New York Times.” Which hardly bolsters the case for immediate injunctive relief to prevent imminent harm to the plaintiff. And JCN CEO Alfredo Ortiz’s suggestion that MLB establish a “relief fund” to compensate Georgia businesses harmed by the decision to move the game doesn’t help either.

“The Court can take Mr. Ortiz at his word that no injunctive relief is necessary,” the defendant writes, “but there are several legal grounds to reach the same conclusion.”

For its part, MLBPA notes that it has zero control over where the All Star Game is played, and thus cannot be ordered to return it to its original location.

Neither the Major League Baseball Players Association (“MLBPA”) nor its Executive Director decides where to play the All-Star Game. They did not decide to locate the 2021 All-Star Game in Atlanta, they did not decide whether or where to relocate the game, and they have no ability to return it to Atlanta. The Job Creators Network (“JCN” or “Plaintiff”) knows this. It filed thislawsuit for political theater and then doubled down on abuse of the judicial process by dragging the MLBPA and its Executive Director, Tony Clark, into a frivolous lawsuit.

MLBPA is also deeply offended by “Plaintiff’s unfounded, reckless, and offensive suggestion that the MLBPA and its Black Executive Director supported a decision to harm minorities,” calling the allegation “specious and sanctionable.”

All of which sounds pretty bad, but perhaps we should withhold judgment until we find out what Alberto Gonzalez and John Ashcroft have to say on the matter.

Or perhaps not.

Job Creators Network v. Office of the Commissioner of Baseball (1:21-cv-04818) [Docket via Court Listener]

Elizabeth Dye lives in Baltimore where she writes about law and politics.

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