CourtSide - The FindLaw Breaking Legal Documents Blog

CourtSide - The FindLaw Breaking Legal News Blog


In its last major decision of the October 2015 term, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a Texas law regulating abortion clinics and doctors placed an undue burden on a woman's right to end a pregnancy. The statute required doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and also imposed strict regulations on surgical centers, causing about half the state's abortion clinics to shut down.

The Court is still missing a replacement for conservative justice Antonin Scalia, but voted 5-3 that the Texas restrictions were unconstitutional. You can read the majority opinion, along with two dissenting opinions, below:

In a victory for affirmative action advocates, the Supreme Court upheld the University of Texas's admissions criteria that takes an applicant's race into account. The case was brought by a white female applicant, Abigail Fisher, who was denied admission to the university in 2008 and claimed that the school's holistic "Personal Achievement Index" (which considered race as a factor in admissions) violated the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause.

The Court disagreed, saying schools are permitted "considerable deference" when seeking diversity in their student body. You can see the full opinion below.

Last year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to regulate internet service providers the same as any common carrier of utility services, opening up companies like Comcast and Time Warner to regulation similar to water and electric providers. Today, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld that notion, an enormous victory for the Obama administration and net neutrality advocates.

The ruling also preserves federal regulations prohibiting companies from either blocking or slowing of internet traffic to consumers or speeding up websites that agree to pay a fee for faster access. Here's a look at the ruling:

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that citizens do not have a Second Amendment right to carry concealed firearms in public. The California federal court that covers states Arizona, Nevada, Oregon Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, and Hawaii as well found that laws requiring gun owners to show "good cause" for carrying concealed handguns were not an unconstitutional restriction on a person's right to bear arms.

So what, specifically, did the court say, and what does this mean for gun owners nationwide? You can read the full opinion below:

A federal judge has barred members of the U.S. women's national soccer team from striking or being locked out in the lead-up to this summer's Olympics. Women's team members have been clashing with the U.S. Soccer Federation over fair wages and an expired collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

In finding that certain clauses of that CBA were still in effect, Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman of the U.S. District Court in Illinois "barred the players from authorizing, encouraging, or engaging in any strike, work stoppage, slowdown or other concerted interference with the activities of the Federation." Here's a look at the full opinion and order.

In response to requests from The Washington Post, the federal judge in a class action lawsuit against Donald Trump's Trump University ordered several documents in the case to be unsealed, and then tried to claw some of those documents back from public view. At issue were the university's "playbooks," or guides for salespeople on how to aggressively market Trump's real estate and investment training courses.

So what do these documents reveal, and what is their current status? You can see the judge's full order here.

Mere hours after North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory doubled down on the state's discriminatory bathroom access law, the U.S Department of Justice fired back, filing its own lawsuit to enjoin the state from enforcing the law.

The DOJ's Civil Rights Division had already warned McCrory that it saw the law, which prohibits people from using bathrooms with gender designations other than those on their birth certificates, as a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and would sue to enjoin its enforcement. Now the two sides will battle it out in federal court, and it's pretty clear which side will win.

North Carolina's transgender bathroom law -- the one barring people from using bathrooms with gender designations different from those on their birth certificates -- is patently discriminatory. About a week after it passed, the state's own attorney general said he wouldn't defend the law in court, and last week the U.S. Department of Justice warned the governor that the law violates the Civil Rights Act.

But Governor Pat McCrory and Frank Perry, head of North Carolina's Department of Public Safety (DPS), doubled down on the law, and filed a lawsuit against the DOJ, accusing the federal government of "baseless and blatant overreach." (One wonders whether the irony of that charge was lost on the governor or simply ignored.) Hours later, the DOJ filed its own lawsuit, saying the state and DPS "are discriminating against transgender individuals in violation of federal law." The only question now is how long it will take a court to side in the DOJ's favor.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed a resolution this week declaring pornography a "public health hazard" and calling for more "education, prevention, research, and policy change ... to address the pornography epidemic that is harming the people of our state and nation." The non-binding resolution is a laundry list of harms allegedly created by the production and consumption of pornography, all of which have led to a "public health crisis."

But if the Utah resolution doesn't ban pornography, or even earmark state funds to combat it, what does it actually do? You can check it out below:

An anonymous, alleged sexual abuse victim of Dennis Hastert filed a breach of contract lawsuit last week, claiming the former House Speaker still owes him $1.8 million of $3.5 million Hastert agreed to pay to "compensate for and keep confidential" the abuse. It was the previous $1.7 million in payments that put Hastert on the FBI's radar, and he has already pled guilty to structuring bank withdrawals to avoid bank reporting requirements.

You can read the full lawsuit below: