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NFL Lockout Back On: 8th Circuit Grants NFL Stay, Politics At Play?

The 8th circuit court of appeals has granted the NFL it’s motion for a temporary stay of Judge Susan Nelson’s ruling to the lift the lockout. That means all lockout conditions have been restored for the moment.

Two judges voted for the stay, while one dissented. This is where it gets interesting. Legal experts have warned during this process that the 8th circuit is considered to be rather conservative and is usually pro business and anti labor in a collective bargaining dispute such as this. Basically the opposite of the track record of Judges like Doty and Nelson, who were more pro labor. The NFL has seemingly been wrangling to get this case in front of the 8th circuit all along.

The dissenting judge, Kermit Bye wrote a very strongly worded rebuke of his 8th circuit colleagues. “I am unaware of a general practice in this circuit of resolving requests for stays pending appeal in non-emergency situations in a two-step process”

Bye’s implication is that it’s highly unorthodox for the 8th circuit to make a move like this. The vote went down political lines. Bye, who dissented, is a Clinton appointee, while the two judges who voted for the stay Steven M. Colloton and William Duane Benton, are George W. Bush appointees.

Bye said simply that the NFL had not proven that they were being done irreparable harm by the absence of the lockout.

“The NFL has not persuaded me this is the type of emergency situation which justifies the grant of a temporary stay of the district court’s order pending our decision on a motion for a stay itself.”

For those hoping to an end to his dispute, this is a negative development. Plus, as NFL Network's Albert Breer reports, the same three judge panel that granted the stay are expected to be the same three who will hear the NFL's appeal. If that vote goes along party lines as well, the owners would win, the lockout would be legal and we'd be back at square one.