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Sixth Circuit Rules it has Jurisdiction to Decide WOTUS Challenge

In a 2-1 decision the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that it—rather than a federal district court—has jurisdiction to decide whether the Clean Water Rule, clarifying the scope of the “waters of the United States (WOTUS),” exceeds the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority.

 In October the Sixth Circuit assumed it had jurisdiction and issued a temporary nationwide stay of the rule. The WOTUS rule defines “waters the United States,” according to the EPA, “through increased use of bright-line boundaries” to make “the process of identifying waters protected under the Clean Water Act easier to understand, more predictable and consistent with the law and peer reviewed science, while protecting the streams and wetlands that form the foundation of our nation’s water resources.”

 The Sixth Circuit stayed the rule concluding it was likely that a number of the definitions were at odds with Rapanos v. United States (2006) and the distance limitations in the final rule weren’t a “logical outgrowth” of the proposed rule, in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act. Continue reading

 

Supreme Court Will Decide Whether Same-Sex Marriage Bans are Unconstitutional

On Friday the Supreme Court elevated this term from mostly meat and potatoes to historic by agreeing to hear four same-sex marriage cases.  The Court will decide whether it is constitutional for states to prohibit same-sex marriage and whether states may refuse to recognize same-sex marriages lawfully performed out of state.

 

While the Court refused to hear a number of cases presenting the same issues earlier in the term, these grants came as little surprise.  Between then and now the Sixth Circuit ruled that same-sex marriage bans are constitutional, making it the only federal circuit to consider this question and reach that conclusion.  The four cases the Court granted came out of each state in the Sixth Circuit (Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee).

 

Currently, same-sex marriages are allowed in 36 states.  In some of these states legislatures have passed laws recognizing same-sex marriage, in other states courts have struck down laws disallowing same-sex marriage.

 

The Court will hear oral argument in these cases at the end of April and will issue a decision by the end of June.

State and local governments, as issuers of marriage licenses and as employers, will be affected by the Court’s decision in these cases.  And the legal test that the Court applies to determine the outcome of these cases will have implications for other cases brought by gays and lesbians.

 

SCOTUSblog editor Tom Goldstein predicts that the Court will rule that same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional.  In his opinion, just a few years ago, the Court may have only had one Justice willing to rule this way.  What has changed?  He suggests the following:  “The challenge to Proposition 8 [California’s same-sex marriage ban] . . . required that measure’s defenders to put forward actual evidence in court to justify the claim that same-sex marriage was somehow harmful.  The fact that they so publicly failed to do so was, to my mind, the most significant development in this movement.”

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are last week’s published decisions involving local governments:court collumn

Fourth Circuit

Fifth Circuit

Sixth Circuit

Eighth Circuit

Ninth Circuit

Tenth Circuit

(12/15/2014-12/19/2014)

Image courtesy of Flickr from Ken Lund (creative-commons license, no changes made).

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Catching up on recent published decisions involving local governments:court collumn

First Circuit

  • S. Kingstown Sch. Cmte v. Joanna S., No. 14-1177 (Dec. 9, 2014): The court ruled in Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (“IDEA”) case that settlement agreement relieved school committee of obligation to perform or fund evaluations, and remanded to determine whether Joanna S. is entitled to attorney’s fees.

Second Circuit

Fourth Circuit

Fifth Circuit Continue reading

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are last week’s published decisions involving local governments:court collumn

First Circuit

Third Circuit

Sixth Circuit Continue reading

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are last week’s published decisions involving local governments:court collumn

Fourth Circuit

Sixth Circuit

 

Supreme Court Review of Same-Sex Marriage (Almost) Inevitable

Even though there was no disagreements among the federal circuit courts of appeals at the time, Court watchers were shocked with the Supreme Court denied certiorari in a series of cases striking down same-sex marriage bans.  All eyes then turned to the Ninth and Sixth Circuits who had pending cases.  The next day the Ninth Circuit struck down Nevada’s and Idaho’s ban.  On November 6 the Sixth Circuit became the first federal circuit court to uphold bans in four states (Michigan, Tennessee, Ohio, and Kentucky).14692401305_ea57b7b223

In 12 bullet points Lyle Denniston of SCOTUSblog summarizes the Sixth Circuit’s majority opinion.  Judge Sutton eloquently explains why he parted company with his colleagues who decided the other cases:  “When the courts do not let the people resolve new social issues like this one, they perpetuate the idea that the heroes in these change events are judges and lawyers.  Better, in this instance, we think, to allow change through the customary political processes, in which the people, gay and straight alike, become the heroes of their own stories by meeting each other not as adversaries in a court system but as fellow citizens seeking to resolve a new social issue in a fair-minded way.”

While the Supreme Court doesn’t resolve every circuit split immediately, given the significance of this issue it would be shocking if the Court didn’t resolve it shortly.  As Lyle Denniston describes on SCOTUSblog this does not necessarily mean that the Court will hear the Sixth Circuit’s case—the Ninth Circuit ruling could also be appealed or the Court could grant review in a case pending, not yet decided, from another circuit.

But the mostly likely outcome (now that we know none of the plaintiffs will ask all of the Sixth Circuit judges to rehear the case) is that the Court will accept the Sixth Circuit case for review.

So maybe the only question is will the Court hear the case this term or next? One petition has already been filed.  If all petitions and responses are ready for the Justices by their January 9 conference this case will be heard and decided by the end of June.

(Photo courtesy of Flickr by Stefan Ogrisek, creative-commons license, no changes made).

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are the last two weeks’ published decisions involving local governments:court collumn

Second Circuit

Sixth Circuit Continue reading

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are last week’s published decisions involving local governments:court collumn

Third Circuit

  • Thorpe v. Borough ofJim Thorpe, No. 13-2446 (Oct. 23, 2014): The court reversed district court’s conclusion that Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act requires the Borough to disinter Jim Thorpe. In the court’s view, “Congress could not have intended th[is] kind of patently absurd result.”

Fourth Circuit

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are last week’s published decisions involving local governments:court collumn

Sixth Circuit

  • Cass v. City of Dayton, No. 13-4409 (Oct. 16, 2014): In 1983 action alleging that officer used excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment, the court affirmed summary judgment for defendants because officer’s conduct was objectively reasonable and did not violate Fourth Amendment.

Seventh Circuit

Ninth Circuit Continue reading

 

What’s Next for Same-Sex Marriage?

For the six reasons Lyle Denniston describes on SCOTUSblog, the Supreme Court’s announcement on Monday that it would not hear any of the seven petitions striking down same-sex marriage bans was stunning.5554035521_f6b59ccafa_n  Even though there was no circuit split, conventional wisdom indicated the Court would decide the issue because of its importance and because both sides asked the Court for review.

Amy Howe also of SCOTUSblog and Scott Michelman writing on SCOTUSblog speculate as to the why the Court’s liberals and conservatives may have decided not to get involved in the issue now.  In short, the liberals had nothing to lose by waiting, and both side face uncertainty about Justice Kennedy’s position on the issue.

To understand where were are today with same-sex marriage a timetable is helpful.

  • On Sunday, 19 states recognized same-sex marriage.
  • On Monday, 11 more states were added from the Fourth (Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina) Seventh (Wisconsin and Indiana) and Tenth Circuits (Utah, Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas, and Wyoming).
  • On Tuesday 5 more states were added when the Ninth Circuit (Idaho, Nevada, Alaska, Arizona, and Montana) struck down the Idaho and Nevada same-sex marriage bans.  (Implementation of this decision is still being worked out).

Technically, Continue reading

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are last week’s published decisions involving local governments:court collumn

Second Circuit

Sixth Circuit

  • United Pet Supply, Inc. v. City of Chattanooga, No. 13-5181 (Sept. 18, 2014): The court found that: (i) private animal-welfare employee that contracted with City may not assert qualified immunity; (ii) officers may not assert qualified-immunity defense to “official capacity” suits; (iii) seizure of animals without prior hearing did not violate procedural due process; (iv) revocation of permit without hearing did violate due process; (v) that warrantless animal seizure did not violate Fourth Amendment because of exigent circumstances; and (vi) seizure of records without warrant violated clearly established Fourth-Amendment right and therefore officer was not entitled to qualified immunity.
  • Finn v. Warren County, No. 13-6629 (Sept. 16, 2014): In action alleging inadequte medical care in violation of the Eighth Amendment and state law claims including negligence after Finn died in his cell, the court reversed grant of summary judgment for officer, remanded for trial on negligence claim, and otherwise affirmed judgment below.

Seventh Circuit Continue reading

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are last week’s published decisions involving local governments:court collumn

Sixth Circuit

Eighth Circuit Continue reading

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are last week’s published decisions involving local governments:court collumn

First Circuit

  • Town of Johnston v. Fed. Housing Finance Agency, No. 13-2034 (Aug. 27, 2014): The court affirmed the dismissal of the municipalities’ claim that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac failed to pay taxes on property transfers; the court found that statutory exemptions from taxation applied. As the court put it: “Six other circuits have recently considered this attempt to shoe-horn a transfer tax into a real property tax, and they have unanimously rejected the argument.”

Second Circuit

Third Circuit Continue reading

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Apologies that this edition is delayed. I was tied up with a significant filing for the past week. The courts were busy too. Here are the last two weeks’ published decisions involving local governments:court collumn

First Circuit

  • Penn v. Escorsio, No. 13-2309 (Aug. 22, 2014): The court affirmed the district court’s denial of qualified immunity at the summary judgment stage to corrections officers alleged to be deliberately indifferent to risk that detainee could commit suicide.  The court found that the issues presented on appeal were purely factual, and the court had no jurisdiction to decide them on interlocutory appeal.

Second Circuit Continue reading

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are last week’s published decisions involving local governments:judicial bench

First Circuit

Merit Construction Alliance v. City of Quincy, No. 13-2189 (July 16, 2014): The court concluded that the district court: (1) properly determined that ERISA preempts a City ordinance mandating a specific apprentice-training program; and (2) erred by awarding attorney’s fees under ERISA’s fee-shifting statute.

Third Circuit

Batchelor v. Rose Tree Media Sch. Dist., No. 13-2192 (July 17, 2014): The court found that retaliation claims related to enforcement under the Indviduals with Disabilities in Education Act must be exhausted before a court may assert subject-matter jurisdiction. Continue reading

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are last week’s published decisions involving local governments, a couple days late this week:Alexandria-court

Second Circuit

E.M. v. New York City Dept. of Ed., No. 11-1427 (July 11, 2014) (in IDEA case, concluding that district court improperly concluded that IEP was adequate by relying on retrospective evidence extrinsic to the IEP).

Fourth Circuit

Lefemine v. Wideman, No. 13-1629 (July 11, 2014) (reversing determination that successful plaintiff in 1983 First-Amendment case was not entitled to attorney’s fees). Continue reading

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are last week’s published decisions involving local governments:law books

Sixth Circuit

Hescott v. City of Saginaw, No. 13-2103 (July 2, 2014) (ruling that district court erred denying attorney’s fees to Hescotts in their successful 1983 action claiming that the City had unconstitutionally seized their personal effects by demolishing their property).

Seventh Circuit

Scherr v. City of Chicago, No. 13-1992 (July 2, 2014) (affirming that 1983 suit against officer based on alleged Fourth-Amendment violation was properly dismissed). Continue reading

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are last week’s published decisions involving local governments:NinthCircuit

First Circuit

Fifth Circuit

Continue reading

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are last week’s published decisions involving local governments:SCT stairs

Sixth Circuit

  • Robertson v. Lucas, No. 12-3877 (May 28, 2014) (in case arising out of corrupted drug-trade investigation, affirming award of qualified immunity on malicious prosecution and false arrest claims, and affirming dismissal of Monell claim against Richland County and City of Cleveland).

Continue reading

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are last week’s published decisions involving local governments:Alexandria-court

First Circuit

  • Jones v. City of Boston, No. 12-2280 (May 7, 2014) (in suit challenging police department’s drug-testing program as causing disparate impact based on race, reversing denial of summary judgment for plaintiffs on whether they had proved a prima facie case of disparate impact under Title VII).

Sixth Circuit

Continue reading

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are last week’s published decisions involving local governments:5653819568_1e37db21d0_z

First Circuit

Second Circuit

Continue reading

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are last week’s published decisions involving local governments:prison

Third Circuit

  • Thomas v. Cumberland County, No. 12-3959 (Apr. 11, 2014) (in suit alleging that the County failed to properly train officers to prevent attack by other inmates, vacating the district court’s order of summary judgment for the County because a reasonable jury could find that the County acted with deliberate indifference).

Sixth Circuit

Seventh Circuit Continue reading

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are last week’s published decisions involving local governments:Alexandria-court

First Circuit

Second Circuit

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are last week’s published decisions involving local governments:Justice

Sixth Circuit

  • Rorrer v. City of Stow, No. 13-3272 (Feb. 26, 2014) (reversing grant of summary judgment to City and against plaintiff, a terminated firefighter with a non-work-related injury, on ADA claim; affirming grant of summary judgment for City on First Amendment and ADA retaliation claims).

Seventh Circuit

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are last week’s published decisions involving local governments:SCT pillars

Second Circuit

Sixth Circuit

Seventh Circuit Continue reading

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are last week’s published decisions involving local governments. NYcourt

Second Circuit

Sixth Circuit

(January 13, 2014, through January 17, 2014)

Credit: Image courtesy of Flickr by Tracy Collins (creative common license, no changes made)

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are published decisions involving local governments from the federal appellate courts from December 16, 2013, through December 20, 2013:

Sixth Circuit

Seventh Circuit

Eighth Circuit Continue reading

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are published decisions involving local governments from the federal appellate courts from December 9, 2013, through December 13, 2013:

Sixth Circuit

Seventh Circuit

Ninth Circuit

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here are published decisions involving local governments from the federal appellate courts from October 28, 2013 through November 1, 2013:

6th Circuit

7th Circuit

9th Circuit

 

Monday Morning Review: Local Governments in the Federal Appellate Courts

Here’s how local governments fared in the federal courts of appeals during the past week.

Fifth Circuit

Sixth Circuit

Tenth Circuit

Eleventh Circuit

  • Carter v. City of Melbourne, No. 12-15337 (Sept. 23, 2013) (finding City not liable for unlawful termination of former officer because decisions were not made by a “final policymaker” for the City, and rejecting other claims, including that officer was terminated for his First Amendment activities).

 

 

Regulating Adult-Oriented Businesses: Demonstrating Your Regulations Are Effective.

Build a record to justify your regulations, but resist claims that the evidence has to be beyond dispute.

Build a record to justify your regulations, but resist claims that the evidence has to be beyond dispute.

Crime. Disease. Decreased property values.

Adult-oriented businesses are disrupting your community.

But you have a plan.

You have fashioned a licensing scheme that prohibits nudity and the sale of alcohol at these establishments.

You know that courts have allowed zoning regulations that address the “secondary effects” of these businesses. You also know that regulating these businesses can violate the First Amendment.

But how closely will a court examine whether your regulations effectively eliminate these adverse effects?

Continue reading