The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has tossed a Molotov cocktail at the California attorney general’s office, asking it to defend the constitutionality of the federal Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act on one week’s notice.

The Wednesday order surprised attorneys getting ready to argue the case of Carl Merton Irons II. Although the California prisoner was convicted of murder, he is not on death row.