The most interesting part of Judge Susan Nelson's ruling imposing an injunction on the NFL lockout comes at the end, on page 89. There she says that the fact that the player's union might at some time in the future recertify and go back into business is irrelevant. Under the law, unions (or more precisely workers) have the right to do that. Even more important, she goes on, while they remain decertified Federal law states clearly that their employer cannot lock them out. To rule otherwise, she says, WOULD INVOLVE THE COURT IN CREATING NEW LABOR LAW ON ITS OWN. For her part, she continues, she is going to choose the more CONSERVATIVE OPTION of staying within the law as it exists today.
THAT is a challenge to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, telling them in effect that if they overturn her ruling they will be taking the more radical course of action and changing how labor law operates in this country. In effect, her opinion is carefully crafted (she has been working on it for two weeks and it is the length of a short book) to hedge in the Appeals Court, giving them little room in which to maneuver. They could still decide to overturn her -- anything is possible in this game -- but they would have to violate some of their own most cherished principles in order to do so.
If Judge Nelson's ruling eventually stands and the NFL season resumes, look no further than p.89 for an explanation of how it happened.
P.S. ESPN has a link to the full text of the ruling on its website.