A full complement of lawyers fills the courtroom to argue the City College case

By Tim Redmond

City College of San Francisco went on trial for its life today, with union lawyers and the City Attorney’s Office kicking off what could be a long legal process by asking Judge Curtis Karnow to issue an injunction to protect the school’s accreditation.

Without the injunction, the plaintiffs argued, the school will continue to hemorrhage students and staff as a June, 2014 deadline looms for the school to close.

For the 58,000 students and more than 3,000 staff, the stakes could not be higher – and the scene in the courthouse reflected that. At 8:30 in the morning on the day after Christmas, several hundred people were lined up to get into a room that could hold only a fraction of that number. When Karnow arrived a little after 9am, the courtroom was packed with City College supporters.

Karnow’s a no-nonsense judge who has a reputation for being tough on attorneys, and he demonstrated that approach today, peppering counsel for both sides with questions. He hardly ever rules from the bench, so we won’t know whether he’ll issue the injunction until he’s completed a written opinion. He gave no indication today when that might be. (more after the jump)