DC Circuit

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'Coalition' Attempts Fail to Roadblock the EPA's Clean Power Plan

Attempts to block the EPA's Clean Power Plan through the use of a judicial stay have failed and state utilities have been greenlit to begin implementing the CPP. A coalition of various coal and fossil fuel interests failed to convince a panel of judges that they met the "stringent requirements for a pending court review."

This means that the Plan, which seeks to put severe limitations on carbon pollution by existing plants, will be in effect until June.

When the FDA appointed twelve members to the Tobacco Products Safety Advisory Committee to advise the commissioner on tobacco products, three members were fairly anti-smoking. They testified as expert witnesses in lawsuits against tobacco companies, for example, and worked with smoking-cessation companies.

After that committee issued an unfavorable report on menthol cigarettes, two tobacco companies sued, alleging that the three Committee members had unlawful conflicts of interest which would require the report to be invalidated. But those cigarette companies don't have standing to challenge to the Committee's makeup, the D.C. Circuit ruled last Friday, noting that the FDA had taken no action on the Committee's report.

Fish Conservation Lawsuit Fails at DC Circuit

In a suit brought before the DC Circuit, plaintiffs claimed that federal agencies acted unlawfully by neglecting to manage various stocks of ocean fish in the Atlantic. The circuit decided to affirm the decision of a lower district court, finding, essentially, that the plaintiffs were blaming the wrong people for their woes.

But even if the plaintiffs had chosen the proper target for their suit, the plaintiffs would still be out of luck, because the law essentially stipulates that a "final agency action" has very particular requirements. Sometimes, you're just not destined to win in court.

So much for ordering a private jet from your smart phone. Flytenow, a start-up aiming to be the "Uber of the skies" has shut down following an adverse ruling from the D.C. Circuit. The app allowed you to hop aboard a private pilot's planned route, provided you pay for your share of expenses.

There was one catch though. Flytenow didn't require its pilots to have a commercial pilot licenses. The Federal Aviation Administration and the D.C. Circuit disagreed, sending the company's dreams down in flames.

U.S.'s Oldest Potato Chip Co. Violated NLRA, DC Cir. Rules

The oldest potato chip company in the United States violated Sec. 8(a)(5) of the NLRA, according to the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.

We hope this little procedural hiccup won't halt the production of Mike-Sell's potato chips. However, the future for the company hasn't looked this dim in a very long time.

Hospital Can't Revive Medicare Reimbursement Case, DC Circuit Rules

The D.C. Circuit dismissed the appeal by Canonsburg General Hospital (CGH) involving Medicare reimbursements. In the appeal, the hospital sought to have a 2001 decision reheard. The circuit court wasn't convinced.

This latest ruling against CGH is probably the most significant against the hospital because it essentially closes any future attempts to revive reimbursement claims for procedures "atypical in nature and scope."

Sharif Mobley, a U.S. citizen, has been detained in Yemen for five years -- for reasons unclear to him, his lawyers, or the D.C. Circuit. Mobley claims he was plucked from the streets by armed men, shot, interrogated by the FBI and other federal agencies, and has remained in custody ever since.

Mobley sued to uncover the reasons behind his detention and other "proxy detentions" in Yemen. That information won't be forthcoming anytime soon, though, after the D.C. Circuit rejected his Freedom of Information Act claims.

District Judge Richard Leon has twice ordered the NSA to halt its massive, once-secret collection of telephone metadata. Twice his rulings have been overturned by the D.C. Circuit. Now, in the most recent blow to NSA lawsuits, the D.C. Circuit has refused to rehear a challenge en banc.

The D.C. Circuit's rulings have largely been procedural -- touching on standing or the appropriateness of a preliminary injunction, for example. The most recent denial was just a sentence long. But, D.C. Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh wasn't content with just a denial. He took the opportunity to expound on the NSA's metadata collection all together. The gist: the massive surveillance doesn't bother him at all.

The Federal Election Commission's campaign disclosure rule was back before the D.C. Circuit last week -- and just in time for a ramped up election season. The disclosure rules in question require groups that spend more than $10,000 annually on electioneering to disclose donors who give more than $1,000 for political ads.

Some critics see that as no disclosure rule at all, but a guide to avoiding disclosure. Want to finance political advertising but remain secret? Just don't say your donations need to be used for ads. Lead by Representative Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat from Maryland, they've spent years challenging the rule.

6 New DC Superior Court Candidates for Obama to Consider

The retirements of Hon. Ann O'Regan Keary and Hon. Harold L. Cushenberry, Jr. from the DC Superior Court leave vacancies that the Judicial Nomination Commission is eager to fill. The Commission recently forwarded a list of nominees to President Obama.