The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
In October 2019, pro se petitioner Deshay Ford filed a petition for a writ of certiorari and a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (IFP). On January 13, 2020, the Court denied leave to proceed IFP:
The motion of petitioner for leave to proceed in forma pauperis is denied. Petitioner is allowed until February 3, 2020, within which to pay the docketing fee required by Rule 38(a) and to submit a petition in compliance with Rule 33.1 of the Rules of this Court
Nine days later, Ford submitted a motion for reconsideration denying leave to proceed IFP. He wrote:
The Appellant is a poor destitute Appellant who was fired from his job on 12/2/2019 ( Appendix 1 Appendixes 1, December 2,2019, IABA, termination). The Appellant do not have the available Funds to pay the $300.00 Docket fee. The Docker fee has the effect of preventing poor and destitute American Citizens from access the State and U.S. district Courts, and the United States Supreme Court.( 42 ESC: 1981 Access to the Courts).On 1215 The British's Magna Carter granted to poor English's citizens their Common Law's Rights to access to the Royal Court without paying for their rights under the Magna Carter of 1215.
The motion was distributed at the 2/28/20 conference. And the Court took no action until May 26, when the motion was distributed for the 6/11/20 conference.
And on June 15, the Court grants the motion for reconsideration!
Motion for reconsideration of order denying leave to proceed in forma pauperis filed by petitioner GRANTED. The order entered January 13, 2020, is vacated.
I cannot recall ever seeing a motion for reconsideration of an IFP request granted. Indeed, motions for reconsideration are almost always denied.
What happened here? Methinks Justice Sotomayor was behind this move. Ford's petition has a Gideon's Trumpet vibe to it. She likely found it sympathetic, even if the case lacked merit. And I'd like to think that this date of the order was symbolic. Ford cited Magna Carta. And Magna Carta was signed at Runymede on June 15, 1215.
Alas, Mr. Ford's victory was short-lived. Immediately after the Court granted reconsideration, it denied cert. But this decision was a huge victory for IFP petitioners. It should be cited in all future IFP cases.