San Jose has urged a federal appeals court to put its antitrust case against Major League Baseball on a fast track, pushing for the swiftest possible resolution of the legal battle over the long-stalled plan to move the Oakland A's to Silicon Valley.

In court papers filed Wednesday, San Jose's lawyers asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to set a March 24 deadline for all legal arguments, which could allow the federal judges to set arguments and rule on the case by summer. San Jose is appealing a federal judge's order dismissing the city's central legal argument -- that MLB violated federal antitrust laws by delaying the Oakland A's bid to move to San Jose.

The 9th Circuit earlier this week called for briefs to be filed by June, a timetable that could push a ruling into the latter part of the year.

San Jose's lawyers told the appeals court that it is critical to have a ruling in the case by early November, when the city's option with the A's to provide land for a downtown ballpark expires.

The legal case against the MLB is "of great public importance," the city said.

The city's lawsuit argues that MLB's refusal to act on the A's desire to move to the South Bay for nearly four years has harmed the city's interests. It seeks to void baseball's nearly century-old exemption from federal antitrust laws. U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte, however, found that the exemption bars San Jose's legal claims.


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The A's quest to move to San Jose has been foiled in large part by the San Francisco Giants' ownership, which has asserted its territorial rights to the South Bay.

Howard Mintz covers legal affairs. Contact him at 408-286-0236. Follow him at Twitter.com/hmintz.