Meet Senior District Judge Susan Illston, Duke University (B.A., 1970) and Stanford Law School (J.D., 1973). Publications. She was appointed by Bill Clinton:
Photo via Jason Doiy
And in the other corner, comes now CW Nevius, known for his “breezy writing style” and also known for “having lived in the suburban East Bay until May, 2010, whereupon he moved to San Francisco.” Publications. (He was not appointed by Bill Clinton, nor by anyone else.)
Introductions finished. So here you go – “Losing a lawsuit can mean financial gain” by CW Nevius:
“As Judge Susan Illston said in her ruling, ‘plaintiffs did not prevail on a single substantive motion before the Court.’”
But now let’s look at the entire sentence:
“First, although the Court has found that they gained their desired outcome, plaintiffs did not prevail on a single substantive motion before the Court.”
See how that works? Judge Illston awarded attorneys fees of $300,000-something to the plaintiffs in this particular Sharp Park Golf Course case because they gained their desired outcome.
So Avuncular East Bay Everyman Chuck Nevius chopped up the judge’s sentence because, because why? Because it would have weakened his point? Is this an honest approach for a writer to take? I don’t think so.
And then a reader of The Nevius, the Blessed Nevius, might read his bit and think to ask:
Shouldn’t we blame the judge instead of the environmental group?
And the answer is … no, no we shouldn’t, because the plaintiffs won, at least sort of:
“…[t]he Court finds that plaintiffs’ litigation goal was the halt defendants’ taking of the Frogs and Snakes without first obtaining authorization pursuant to the ESA.”
I’ll tell you, Judge Illston looked at a host of evidence when making her decision, including this bon mot from SFGov:
“…it is extremely important to be able to dispose of the litigation at long last.”
Here you go, read the whole thing yourself, Gentle Reader. You don’t need to be up-to-speed on “catalyst theory” or whathaveyou to understand what the judge is saying.
Oh, and quoth The Nevius:
“Take the ruling in U.S. District Court on July 1, 2013, which, by any measure, rates as a legal smackdown of the institute.”
But as we’ve seen, in fact, this ruling was NOT “a legal smackdown” “by any measure.”
So, Judge Susan Illston isn’t crazy after all.
(One wonders why the City and County of San Francisco wishes to operate a money-losing White elephant of a golf course in the first place. Our Board of Supervisors has tried to unload it back in aught-eleven, to no avail. And now, in 2015, we’re in a drought what rivals what we experienced in the 1970’s. Oh well.)
IMO, the job of CW Nevius is to promote the goals of his local political faction, the dominant one. That’s why I refer “beat sweeteners” and “source greasers” and the like. He slavishly promotes SFGov’s department heads, among others, and, in return, he gets rewarded by them. That’s his gig. But sometimes the way he promotes his faction is wrong.