City Attorney Pete Holmes office filed a motion today seeking to bump a lawsuit filed by local police unions, which could stymie Seattle's efforts at police reform, from superior court to federal district court.
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To recap, the city is working with an independent monitor, Merrick Bobb, to draft a plan to reform our forceful police department at the behest of the Department of Justice. The police unions' lawsuit argues that the reform plan would infringe upon their collective bargaining rights, so they're suing to stop it.
Holmes's latest motion (.pdf) is a seemingly mundane read, but moving the police-union lawsuit from King County Superior Court to US District Court could be the quickest way to kill it altogether. As U.S. District Judge James Robart explained in a hearing on the police reform plan last week:
Robart, who described Bobb as an “agent of the court,” said he was “not aware of any jurisprudence which allows a state court to tell me what to do in my settlement agreement.” He said he considered the labor groups’ efforts “a further distraction” from implementing the agreement.
In other words, Robart's opinion trumps that of the superior courts and his opinion is, this lawsuit is a "distraction." So I'd assume that punting the lawsuit to Robart's domain is Holmes's cleanest shot at killing it right out of the gate.