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


The Deputy Director of the United States Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Leandra English, has not given up her legal fight to become the Acting Director of the CFPB after former Director Richard Cordray stepped down at the end of last year. Prior to stepping down, Cordray promoted English from Chief of Staff to Deputy Director, presumably for the express purpose of ensuring his immediate successor was qualified.

After the district court dismissed her claim to usurp Trump's appointed Acting Director, English filed an emergency appeal up to the Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. In short, English is challenging President Trump's appointment of Mick Mulvaney as the Acting Director, given that she was next in line for the position under a specific provision of the Dodd-Frank Act.

Challenge to Workplace Silica Rule Rejected

As a rule, no silica is good silica.

That actually is a rule of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Or in the words of the U.S Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, it is "no exposure level below which workers would not be expected to develop adverse health effects."

Industry groups had challenged the zero tolerance rule, which is designed to protect workers from exposure to the chemical compound. But in North America's Building Trades Unions v. Occupational Safety & Health Administration, the appeals court upheld it.

Recently, the issue of whether unaccompanied minor immigrant detainees, including unaccompanied minors, should have the right to get an abortion has been in the national spotlight. This is due to a change in federal policy that now prohibits the feds (HHS) from "facilitating" an abortion for this specific class of detainees. That policy seems to have led to the recently espoused and misguided sensationalist view that immigrants are illegally entering the country in order to secure free abortions.

A pair of recently decided cases by the federal district court in D.C. not only sheds light on the intricacies involved, but may also provide the basis for future cases. While the district court approved of the abortions in both cases, only one of the two cases will be challenged on appeal due to how far along each petitioner is in their pregnancy.

Reporters Get Win in 'Fake Reporters' Case

With continued political spin, "fake news" has come to mean "news reports that are not true." It's a political definition.

But there is another kind of "fake news." It's when the government or others pretend to be reporters and disseminate false information.

That's what the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is looking for -- records that FBI agents impersonated reporters for its investigations. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia says the "real press" is entitled to it.

Despite having never served on the bench, President Trump's current White House attorney, and the former assistant attorney general under George W. Bush, Gregory Katsas, has been confirmed to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

While never having been a judge might jar some people, the ABA had given Katsas its highest rating of "well qualified," and for good reason. Katsas, before becoming President Trump's deputy counsel in the White House, was a respected appellate attorney, and has an education and background that is rather impressive.

Court Affirms Case Against Muslim FBI Agent

When the FBI gets involved, you would expect some cloak-and-dagger story. This is not that movie.

In Gill v. United States Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation, the real-life drama is about as interesting as a long case citation. Basically, agent Kaiser Gill lost his security clearance because he searched an FBI database without authorization.

One detail, however, caught the attention of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Gill said the FBI revoked his security clearance because he is Muslim.

Recreational Elk Hunting Does Not Require Yearly NEPA Review

The 'Jackson Herd' is one of the largest elk herds in North America.

If you have seen a postcard of the majestic Grand Teton National Park, the herd may have been in the picture. Thousands of the animals roam the park and the neighboring National Elk Refuge.

Kent Nelson and Timothy Mayo, wildlife photographers, sued to stop a government plan to allow more elk hunting in the national park. Denying the challenge, the DC Circuit told the plaintiffs to move on.

John McLaughlin was one of those TV personalities that stood the test of time. The man maintained a constant news media presence for over 30 years, hosting one of the most celebrated, and balanced, talk-news programs in modern history, The McLaughlin Group.

Sadly, he passed last year, leaving behind an estate worth litigating over. And while the litigation may have resulted in frustration and delay for his heirs, for the general public, the Memorandum Opinion and Order resolving the matter is pure nostalgic gold as it was written as if the TV personality had come back to life to pen it himself. The highlights are detailed below, and if you need a McLaughlin Group primer, here's a reasonable first exposure or an annoyingly fond reminder of the show. (Thanks YouTube.)

Court Blocks Trump's Transgender Military Ban

As a federal judge blocked President Trump's order against transgender people in the military, his transgender ban and travel bans started to sound alike.

Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly issued an injunction against Trump's directive on transgender military members, which he had dumbed down after a political backlash in July. Instead of a ban, the President said in August that transgender service members could be discharged.

It's more of the same, however, as the courts have pushed back repeatedly against the President's executive orders. Assuming more of his advisers are not indicted, Trump will probably appeal.

Court Allows Undocumented Teen to Get Abortion

A pregnant teenager illegally entered the United States and sought an abortion.

But federal authorities in Texas detained her and denied her access to abortion services. Two months later -- and 15 weeks pregnant -- a federal appeals court has granted her plea.

"Surely the mere act of entry into the United States without documentation does not mean that an immigrant's body is no longer her or his own," Judge Patricia Millett wrote in Garza v. Hargan.