Please enjoy the latest version of Short circuita weekly feature written by a group of people at the Institute for Justice.
And speaking of the Supreme Court: For the latest edition of Short Circuit Podcastwe head to Stanford Law School to visit some friends at the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic there.
- A Puerto Rican drug trafficker was arrested, and the ensuing search turned up a 9mm handgun. Stop! It’s been modified to fire fully automatically, it’s a machine gun! The smuggler was charged with possessing a machine gun in furtherance of a drug crime, punishable by 30 years in prison. He disputes that he had no idea the gun had been modified—he was temporarily carrying it for his boss—and requests a jury instruction requiring the government to prove he knew the gun had been modified. The district court rejected the instructions and he was found guilty. First circle: I evacuated. “The claim that harm can rise to the level of a crime only when it is done intentionally is…as universal and persistent in mature systems of law as the belief in the freedom of human will and the consequent ability and duty of the ordinary individual to choose between good and evil.” Evil.”
- at any Second Circuit It was decided that claims under Connecticut law against ExxonMobil for unfair business practices — which allegedly misled consumers about climate change — belong in state court.
- A man who fled war in Bosnia at the age of six crashed his car on the highway and was convicted of DUI. Deport him? Bea: Yes, he was high, which is federally illegal. Third Circuit: Reverse! It’s the elements of his DUI conviction, not the underlying conduct, that lead to deportation. The elements of his conviction did not specify a specific narcotic substance.
- The National Labor Relations Board is an interesting administrative animal. It is a lower court than the federal appellate courts but it follows precedent that it established itself and that was expressly objected to by…the federal appellate courts. This dynamic was at play Third Circuit Opinion about a newspaper in Pittsburgh that discontinued some of its print editions and thus laid off some union “paper handlers.”
- Parties to a dispute over dredging in Lake Charles, Los Angeles, agree to present their case to a magistrate. After a 20-day trial, the judge sided with the plaintiff, awarding them more than $124 million. Uh oh! No one told the defendant that the plaintiff’s attorney was a groomsman at the judge’s wedding, or that the judge had officiated at the wedding of one of the plaintiff’s attorney’s daughters three months before the lawsuit was filed. Fifth Circuit: Which means that the defendant’s agreement to refer the judge to the judge may be insufficient from a constitutional standpoint. The remand was made to discover how close the judge and the plaintiff’s attorney were.
- Berrien, Michigan officers take an agitated and incoherent man – accused of property damage – to the ground. He dies of suffocation. Sixth Circuit (Unpublished, due to dissent): The jury must decide whether the officers used excessive force after he was on the ground.
- Illinois has a points-based system for scoring applicants for cannabis dispensary operating licenses, but there are far more applicants with perfect scores than for licenses, so the state is holding a lottery limited to applicants with perfect scores. But the only way to get a perfect score is to be an Illinois resident, which weighs heavily on the sentiments of two out-of-state cannabis entrepreneurs. They filed a lawsuit alleging violations of the dormant commerce clause. District Court: And they’re basically right, but they waited to file suit until two years after the filing deadline and eight months after the lottery results were announced; It would be unfair to retract the results now. Seventh Circuit: Quite right. Since Illinois has now eliminated the bonus for state residents, the plaintiffs’ other claims fail as well.
- at any Seventh Circuit He attacks a banned New York lawyer who spent most of his career getting into trouble in Illinois. In honor of the Seventh Circuit’s strong aversion to attorneys naming authorship judges when discussing judicial opinions, we will refrain from naming the authorship judge. (But yes that is exactly who you think he is).
- ZoomInfo is an online directory of professionals and their employment information. If you search for someone on their website, you’ll see a “teaser profile,” providing the person’s name, employer and job title, as well as a sign-up link to view the full profile. A California labor organization filed a class action lawsuit, alleging that ZoomInfo violated its (and everyone else’s) right to publicity by using its name and likeness to promote its product without permission. ZoomInfo sought dismissal under California’s anti-SLAPP law, but was denied. Ninth Circuit: As it should be. Concurrency 1: We shouldn’t even hear the introductory appeals of anti-SLAPP denials! Synchronicity 2: I think so too!
- A University of Arizona football player — who the university knew had repeatedly and violently assaulted two female college students the previous year — repeatedly and violently assaulted a female student in an off-campus home he shared with other players. She is suing under Title IX. Ninth Circuit (enbanc): Her case can move forward. She has sufficiently alleged that the University had significant control over the context in which the assault occurred, that the University was aware of it, and that it was deliberately indifferent. Multiple dissent: It doesn’t, and we’re actually expanding Title IX here.
- HUNTSVILLE, Ala. Officers: When the man – who we suspected was tampering with a car that wasn’t his – told us to show his ID, he jumped up and waved his hands in a physically threatening manner! Which gave us probable cause for arrest. Eleventh Circuit: The four separate video cameras that captured this moment show no such thing. There is no qualified immunity.
- After TASER International, Inc. In suing Phazzer Electronics for various infringements of its intellectual property, the owners of Phazzer, in clear violation of the court order, did not stop selling stun guns! Eventually, a federal court and a former Phazzer employee hold them in criminal contempt. The former employee is challenging her conviction on the grounds that… former The employee is not bound by the injunctions. Eleventh Circuit: I succeeded in avoiding this lightning bolt. She may have been held in criminal contempt for aiding and abetting someone who was still bound by the injunction, but the government did not advance that theory.
- In the bank’s news, the Fifth Circuit I will reconsider Her opinion Arguing that Mississippi’s felon disenfranchisement law violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.
- And in Amicus curiae brief News, IJ urges the Seventh Circuit to take seriously the potential issue in the context of warrantless roadside vehicle searches, including here, where an Urbana, Illinois, police officer searched a vehicle based on the alleged odor of “a little bit of marijuana.” Eventually, an illegal gun was found. Since cannabis and hemp are legal in Illinois, this closely resembles the type of public searches that led the Founders to enact the Fourth Amendment.
Friends, as you know from this newsletter, we are at IJ Filed a lawsuit against Federal Bureau of Investigation Twice already During the same March 2021 seizure: money and other valuables belonging to people not suspected of any crime were taken from hundreds of safe deposit boxes in Los Angeles. (Instead, it was the only company that owned the vaults that was suspected of wrongdoing.) Well, keep quiet, because we just filed a third, separate lawsuit stemming from an obvious third outrage: The FBI lost some of its money. The valuables she seized, including a whopping $123,000 worth of gold coins from a customer. It just rose and disappeared! While the FBI so far maintains that they did nothing wrong, we maintain that they did. click here To learn more.