Judge Easterbrook provided a fundamental and valuable lesson on appellate review during today’s oral argument in O’Keefe v. Chisholm, a series of consolidated appeals that concern the John Doe investigation brought by Milwaukee’s elected (and Democratic) district attorney into the fundraising efforts of Wisconsin’s Governor (Republican) Scott Walker.
The exchange occurred during the oral argument presented by counsel for the district attorney and for certain members of the district attorney’s staff. As appellants in this case, they sought to overturn an injunction entered earlier by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. That injunction halted the John Doe proceeding and ordered the destruction of all records collected by investigators, and, in the process of entering the order, the district court was critical in its opinion of the district attorney’s efforts.
What the appellants asked for, however, turned out to be a bit too much. The exchange is below.