Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Anonymity questioned in immigrant suit against colleges

Judge Ellis of the E.D. Va. is apparently leaning toward making the plaintiffs identify themselves, in the case against the public colleges and universities of Virginia on the issue of illegal immigrant admissions, as reported here.

Years ago, we filed a case on behalf of some plaintiffs and named them initially as John Does. When we asked leave of court to add a couple of more John Does, the judge asked us to tell him in chambers what were their real names. We couldn't remember them. The judge said, "you can't remember their names?" Opposing counsel said, "they must be long-time clients." (We had affidavits from them, but they were sitting in a brief case in the courtroom.) Ultimately, the judge refused to keep their names secret, and the lead plaintiff eventually testified in open court. What I think the judge wanted to make sure was true, and opposing counsel likewise, and the litigants in this college admissions case likewise, was that the plaintiffs were really knowing and willing participants in the litigation, rather than made-up people.

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