DC Circuit

DC Circuit - The FindLaw DC Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog


NLRB Can't Order Reimbursement of Court Costs

The National Labor and Relations Board has no unilateral power to order the reimbursement of attorneys and litigation expenses incurred during an NLRB meeting, according to the DC Circuit.

Although the power of the board is wide and expansive, the power to issue a "pay up, or else" order does not exist -- even in the face of repeated bad faith instances of NLRB violations.

DC Cir: No Link Between ACA 'Transition' Program and Health Insurance Premiums

A lawyer for the evangelical group American Freedom Law Center has lost his Obamacare suit in the D.C. Circuit on the grounds of lack of standing.

The appellate court ruled that the AFLCA and Robert Muise, it's co-founder and senior counsel, failed to prove beyond the standard of probability that the Health and Human Service's "transitional" program (allowing non-compliant health plans to continue temporarily) actually caused a jump in his health care premiums.

Obamacare is unconstitutional, a federal district judge ruled yesterday -- at least as far as the law's reimbursements to insurers are concerned. Under the Affordable Care Act, insurers must reduce co-payments and deductibles for low-income consumers. The federal government then reimburses insurers for those deductions, at the cost of several billion dollars a year.

But, the ACA did not specifically appropriate money for those reimbursements, and the Obama administration could not cover those payments under other provisions, the court ruled, without violating Congress's exclusive right to control government spending.

DC Circuit Sides With Gov't in TSA/Flight School Case

Unless the petitioner appeals to a higher power (SCOTUS, that is), it appears that the battle is over between a Venezuelan man and the TSA concerning his denial into flight school. The reasons for the denial? Security concerns. Of course, this raises several issues of due process.

Can the TSA block access to flight school based on what the lower court called "absurd" justifications? Apparently, yes.

'Fokker' Decision Raises Concerns About Deferred Prosecution Agreements

According to a recent ruling by the D.C. Circuit, federal judges have no authority to "second-guess" the practice of federal prosecutors cutting deals with companies indicted for criminal wrongdoing. Such deals are known professionally as "deferred prosecution agreements."

The opinion, written by Judge Sri Srinivasan, shines a light on the somewhat controversial practice of negotiating with criminal defendants to pay big money instead of marring themselves with a criminal record.

Dog Shooting Case Will Move to Trial, DC Circuit Rules

An elderly D.C. woman will finally be able to have her case heard in court after the D.C. Circuit Court determined that a reasonable jury could have determined that officers were unreasonable in shooting the plaintiff's dog while executing a search warrant for drugs.

This is the second qualified immunity case recently reviewed by a circuit that also involved dogs within the facts.

No, it's not 2003 anymore, but Netflix still sends millions of DVDs through the Postal Service every week. Indeed, Netflix alone purchases 97 percent of the U.S. Postal Service's "round-trip" mailers, the products that allow you to return a mailed DVD with an enclosed envelope, no extra postage necessary.

Currently, the law restricts how much the Postal Service can charge for those mailers. USPS had recently sought to change that, seeking to raise rates on those red envelopes, but their request was denied by the Postal Regulatory Commission. The Service sued, but the D.C. Circuit declined to undo the Commission's ruling on Tuesday. Netflix customers, your DVD deliveries are safe for now.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a Supreme Court nominee. This morning, President Obama put forth Merrick Garland, Chief Judge of the D.C. Circuit, as a potential replacement for the seat vacated more than a month ago, when Justice Antonin Scalia passed away.

Garland is a moderate liberal, respected as a "brilliant" jurist by attorneys, judges, and politicians of all stripes. And in his nineteen years on the D.C. Circuit, he's had plenty of time to build that reputation. So let's take a look at some of Judge Merrick Garland's most important D.C. Circuit opinions.

A lawsuit challenging the permitting of a waste incinerator in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, failed in the D.C. Circuit last Friday, as the court of appeals ruled the Sierra Club de Puerto Rico was almost 36 years too late in bringing its Clean Air Act challenge.

The incinerator plant, which is expected to release 0.31 tons of lead air pollution annually, is new. But the rule governing its permitting is not, dating back to 1980. The Sierra Club had failed to show any "after-arising grounds" for challenging the rule, the court ruled.

The Fish and Wildlife Service did not violate the law when it removed the dunes sagebrush lizard from consideration for endangered species protection, a unanimous D.C. panel ruled on Tuesday. The dunes sagebrush lizard had been up for protection for years, but FWS reversed course and stopped considering endangered species protections in 2012, after Texas and New Mexico adopted voluntary conservation measures.

The dunes sagebrush lizard lives in a small area of southeastern New Mexico and Texas, which just happens to be prime oil land. Oil companies had feared that a win for the lizard could hinder oil production in the Permian Basin, the largest oil patch in the nation.