File this under “be careful what you ask for.”

A group of class-action plaintiffs has filed a federal lawsuit demanding that the Texas Supreme Court issue a more prompt ruling on the pending state court appeal challenging their class certification.

The plaintiffs’ contention is that their federal constitutional rights are being violated by not being able to pursue their state class-action during the pendency of the appeal. (( Paragraph 10 of the complaint claims that “[f]or nearly a year, Case No. 05-0748 has been the oldest appeal awaiting a decision at the Texas Supreme Court….” That’s not how I would describe my own docket data; I do not draw a distinction between appeals and original proceedings set for oral argument. Although my docket-tracking website is referenced in paragraph 38, I was not consulted about this complaint and cannot speak to any of its other factual allegations. )) The appeal is Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. v. Marketing on Hold, No. 05-0748 (docket and briefs). A PDF of the federal complaint is here [2.3MB]. It names each of the nine (current) Justices in their official capacities.

If this unusual lawsuit can have a most unusual feature, it might be this: among the plaintiffs is Harris County, Texas (Texas’s most populous county) — so a local arm of Texas government is attempting to assert §1983 civil-rights case against Texas state officials. (I’ll leave that problem set for your next Fed Courts exam.)

The 45-page lawsuit just asks for unspecified “declaratory relief,” but I’m not sure what that would accomplish. On reflection, I’m not sure whether this complaint is a political stunt or an extraordinary form of appellate seppuku. It’s rarely effectively advocacy to spit at the Court that is deciding your case.