453 U.S. 928 (1981)

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U.S. Supreme Court

GRADDICK v. NEWMAN , 453 U.S. 928 (1981)

453 U.S. 928

Charles A. GRADDICK, Attorney General of Alabama, Applicant,
N. H. NEWMAN et al.
No. A-72.

Sept. 2, 1981.

Page 453 U.S. 928 , 929

Opinion of Justice POWELL.

This case, involving an application and "reapplication" for a stay, arises in a complex and unusual procedural posture. The applicant Charles Graddick is the Attorney General of Alabama. Late on the afternoon of July 23 he applied to me as Circuit Justice to stay an order of the District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. The order arose from protracted litigation, commenced in 1971, involving conditions in the Alabama prison system. It directed release of some 400 inmates at midnight on July 24. In order to consider the issues presented, I entered a temporary stay and requested responses. I subsequently denied the application on July 25.

In his application to me as Circuit Justice, Attorney General Graddick did not claim standing as a party to the underlying prison litigation. On the contrary, he came to this Court complaining of the District Court's refusal to grant his motion to intervene in that lawsuit. He sought a stay to permit him to appeal following resolution of his claimed right of intervention.

On July 25, the order of the District Court was given effect. More than 200 prisoners were released. Despite this change in the underlying circumstances-which a "stay" would ordinarily be entered to preserve- Graddick promptly filed a "reapplication" for stay with THE CHIEF JUSTICE. THE CHIEF JUSTICE referred this "reapplication," on which we act today, to the full Court.

The "reapplication" was in fact a new application. In it Graddick for the first time claimed standing as the successor Attorney General to a party defendant dating back to the original action in 1971. If he is such a party, his motion to intervene was wholly unnecessary. [453 U.S. 928 , 930]

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