If you've been on Twitter the past couple of days, you've no doubt been exposed to the ongoing feud between Andrew Breitbart and David Shuster regarding the rejection of a motion to dismiss the Shirley Sherrod lawsuit against Breitbart.
Shuster made a tweet to the effect that Breitbart's lawyers had missed a deadline and that Breitbart should fire them for malefeasance, based on part of the judge's ruling on the issue.
Breitbart, for his part, has promised to prove Shuster wrong, but being the showman that he is, has dragged out the reveal far longer than is really needed.
Therefore, at the risk of incurring Breitbart's wrath by stealing his thunder, here is a simple explanation of what the argument is all about. You can easily verify all of this, by the way, by reviewing the judge's ruling in its entirety.
- The original lawsuit was filed on February 11, 2011.
- On March 31, 2011, 48 days later, the DC Anti-SLAPP Act officially became law.
- On April 18, 2011, Breitbart and his lawyers filed a motion to use this act as grounds for dismissal of the lawsuit.
- Only just this week, the judge in the case handed down a denial of that motion, rejecting the retroactive applicability of the Anti-SLAPP Act.
- In a final comment, the judge stated that even if retroactivity did apply, the filing would have been beyond the 45-day deadline, thus, too late.
Where Shuster went astray in his comments is that he ignores the fact that by the time the Anti-SLAPP Act became law, the 45-day limit had already passed. Therefore, in no way can it be considered a lapse on the part of Breitbart's attorneys, to have missed that deadline, given that the deadline had already passed by the time the law was even officially on the books.
In the end it is simply a case of poor research on Shuster's part, in an effort to make this ruling a bigger deal than it truly is. Then again, if Shuster were better at research, it's more than likely he'd still be employed at MSNBC.