Earlier, I wrote about the federal government’s use of the federal government shutdown as an excuse to close many private businesses. Those were businesses that lease federal land, operate on it, or are surrounded by it. They were shut down by the government even though such businesses were not closed in previous government shutdowns (and even though many federal civilian employees are still on the job), suggesting that such closures were likely illegal.
A federal judge in Virginia ruled on October 9 that the federal government could not close a county park that it did not even run. That ruling involved a county-managed park, not a privately managed park, but as a Washington Post story notes, “it might inspire similar legal actions” to reopen other facilities closed by the federal government.
Here is an excerpt from the Post’s October 10 story about Judge Liam O’Grady’s ruling granting a temporary restraining order against the National Park Service:
Fed up that the federal shutdown was keeping them off their practice fields, a group of young lacrosse players in Northern Virginia challenged the government in court. And at least for now, they won. A federal judge on Wednesday ordered the National Park Service to immediately reopen Langley Fork Park in McLean — which was closed Oct. 1 — and allow the boys and girls of the McLean Youth Lacrosse organization organization back onto the fields. . .A spokeswoman for the Fairfax County Park Authority, which manages the park, said officials removed the temporary barriers at the park Thursday morning after receiving the Park Service’s permission. . .McLean Youth Lacrosse’s lawsuit does not affect other closed national parks and monuments across the country. Still, it might be somewhat embarrassing to federal officials, who have been accused of closing facilities unnecessarily to exaggerate the shutdown’s impact. And it might inspire similar legal actions.