Microsoft continued its opposition to court-appointed special master Lawrence Lessig Friday when it asked an appeals court to overturn the appointment. Judge Jackson denied the request last Wednesday, saying that Microsoft's request was "defamatory and trivial." In its request to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington DC, Microsoft said that the Lessig's appointment "incompatible with basic principles of American jurisprudence," stating that Lessig had exchanged email critical of the software giant with an employee at rival Netscape. Microsoft is asking that the ongoing court proceedings be suspended immediately.

"Because the special master has already initiated his review of this matter (over Microsoft's objections) and because he is continuing to conduct extensive proceedings, Microsoft respectfully requests that this court immediately stay the district court's order," Microsoft wrote in its request. They stated that, under federal law, Judge Jackson--not Lawrence Lessig--is required to hear the case and that his appointment "effectively delegates that responsibility to a private citizen, and is therefore incompatible with basic principles of American jurisprudence."

Jackson appointed Lessig to study the Microsoft anti-trust case because he is an expert in the Internet and computer law. Lessig today denied that he was biased against Microsoft and called the company's characterizations of him "misleading."

"I do not have any personal bias or prejudice concerning either of the parties to this case and no personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceedings," Lessig said. "Neither do I believe that one who considered the facts in context could reasonably question my impartiality.