Monday, January 20, 2020
Each week, the Appellate Advocacy Blog Weekly Roundup presents a few tidbits of news and Twitter posts from the past week concerning appellate advocacy. As always, if you see something during the week that you think we should be sure to include, feel free to send a quick note to either (1) Dan Real at DReal@Creighton.edu or on Twitter @Daniel_L_Real or (2) Catharine Du Bois at DuBoisLegalWriting@gmail.com or on Twitter @CLDLegalWriting.
Apologies for the late MLK day weekend post!
US Supreme Court Opinions and News:
The Supreme Court has ordered quick briefing on the Obamacare challenge after nineteen states asked for a quick decision. Recently, the Fifth Circuit held that the individual mandate is unconstitutional but remanded the issue of severability, thus leaving the law in place for now. See report from The Hill and NBC.
The court has also agreed to hear (1) an administration appeal seeking to enforce federal law that would allow employers to get a religious exemption from the Obamacare requirement that health insurance cover a woman’s birth control (see report) and (2) a dispute involving whether Electoral College electors can break their pledges and support the popular vote winner (see report).
The Court refused to hear an appeal from three “Free the Nipple” activists after a New Hampshire city fined them for exposing their breasts in public. The appeal argued that banning female but not male toplessness is unconstitutional discrimination based on gender; the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case leaves the ban in place. See reports in NYPost, The Hill, and NYTimes
Federal Appellate Court Opinions and News:
The Seventh Circuit affirmed (after nearly 3 years) the lower court decision that required Indiana to list on birth certificates both mothers in same-sex marriages. The court held that after Supreme Court cases Obergefell v. Hodges and Pavan v. Smith, “a state cannot presume that a husband is the father of a child born in wedlock, while denying an equivalent presumption to parents in same-sex marriages.” See decision at 7-8. The court ruled that the Indiana Code did just that and ruled that its operation was properly enjoined. See reports from the Indiana Lawyer, BloombergLaw, and Slate.
The Eleventh Circuit upheld ex-US Representative Corrine Brown’s fraud conviction. The court rejected the argument that the trial court wrongfully removed a juror who claimed guidance from the “holy spirit” as to Brown’s innocence. See the opinion and Florida Times-Union report.
The Fourth Circuit upheld an injunction barring the discharge of HIV-positive service members. The decision calls the rationale for not deploying HIV-positive service members “outmoded and at odds with current science.” See opinion and reports in The Washington Post and the AP.
Finally, the Fifth Circuit made headlines after a divided panel denied a trans-inmate’s request for the court to use female pronouns. See opinion and dissent (begins p. 12) and report from Washington Blade.
State Court news
The San Diego Superior Court tentatively awarded nearly $13 million to twenty-two women in a suit arguing that the women were exploited by porn producers. The ruling holds that the women had been tricked into performing in pornographic videos and found the owners of the adult website liable for fraud and breach of contract. See report in NYTimes, San Diego Union-Tribune, and RollingStone.