If you’ve been paying attention to the world lately, you know that US Federal Government has been shut down for approximately 11 days, and that hundreds of thousands of federal employees have been furloughed, or are working without pay. You may have heard that the state of Utah is now going to pay the feds to open 5 parks in their state, but it’s not only states that are fighting shutdown… sometimes it’s Youth Lacrosse Teams!
According to an article in the Washington Post:
Fed up that the federal shutdown was keeping them off their practice fields, a group of young lacrosse players in Northern Virginia challenged the government in court. And at least for now, they won.
A federal judge on Wednesday ordered the National Park Service to immediately reopen Langley Fork Park in McLean — which was closed Oct. 1 — and allow the boys and girls of the McLean Youth Lacrosse organization back onto the fields.
First off, it’s amazing that a youth lacrosse group was able to get a case heard this quickly, and in their OFF-season. I find that astounding, and it must mean that the folks in McLean are SERIOUSLY dedicated to lacrosse. Or someone is a superbly connected legal eagle. Or both. Either way, wow.
Of course, as was mentioned above, this battle isn’t exactly over:
The judge’s order was not final. Attorneys are scheduled to return to federal court in Alexandria on Oct. 18 — provided the courthouse is still open and judges are still hearing civil cases — to hash out a more permanent resolution.
“Provided the courthouse is still open and judges are still hearing civil cases” Is that not one of the most classic things you’ve ever read? This case about the government shutting down is due back in court, but might not make it back to an appeal because the government might be shutting down and the courts could be closed.
I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.
It seems likely that the case won’t go back to court because the Shutdown should, if history is any indication, end before October 18th. If it doesn’t, McLean will probably just fight on. I hope they do exactly that, and show the feds who’s boss: The PEOPLE!
Just to show you how precisely stupid this particular park closure was, read the sentence below, also excerpted from the WashPo article:
But on Oct. 1, Morris said, temporary barriers went up, blocking off the fields, and U.S. Park Police officers chased away people who moved the barriers aside.
Read it again. There were Park Police officers there to chase people away, but NOT to monitor an open park. Does that make any amount of sense? No it does not. US Government, you lose, and should be ashamed.
The case seems to have been decided by the fact that while the Park sits on federal land, it is NOT a federal park, and was therefore closed without reason. This detail is important, and if a shutdown persists, it means other towns with parks in similar situations may have some potential recourse.
Props to McLean Youth Lacrosse for standing up! If the Shutdown persists, I think we’ll see even more of this type of activity. When our representatives won’t get to work, we have to do more for ourselves. Good luck to everyone trying to make that happen!