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


In what has come as a surprise to many gun control advocates, the District of Columbia's attorney general has announced that the district will not be appealing the decision to strike down their concealed carry permit scheme to the Supreme Court.

The decision not to file the SCOTUS appeal, though disappointing to many, provides some limited peace of mind to other jurisdictions across the country that have imposed similar restrictions on concealed carry permits. D.C. AG Karl Racine explained that the D.C. Circuit opinion may be bad for D.C., but if SCOTUS upheld the circuit opinion, it would be devastating for the entire nation, as that precedent would be binding nationwide.

DC Circuit Lets Stand Concealed-Carry Law

Following a discharge from an appeals court, a shoot-out over permits to carry guns in public appears headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected a request to reconsider its previous decision, which upheld a local permit law. The law gives wide discretion to law enforcement to grant permits to applicants who show "good reason" to carry guns.

Opponents believe the Supreme Court will take up the case, but for now they have lost at every level of the judicial system.

In 2015, the federal Office of Personnel Management, which handles employment matters on behalf of the government, suffered a serious data breach that resulted in the theft of over 22 million people's information. That data breach led to a class action lawsuit being filed on behalf of all those whom had their data stolen against the OPM for failing to safeguard their data.

The federal court has just dismissed this class action and has essentially invited the defeated plaintiffs to appeal. The district court stated: "Neither the Supreme Court nor the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has held that the fact that a person's data was taken is enough by itself to create standing to sue."

The White House has announced President Donald Trump's pick for the vacant seat on D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals: Gregory Katsas, the current deputy counsel in the White House Counsel's Office.

If Katsas is confirmed by the Senate, the conservative seat vacated by Judge Janice Rogers Brown will be filled by another conservative. Katsas, whose distinguished legal career has never included serving as a justice, is expected to be questioned as to his prior casework as an attorney, as well as his motivations and politics, given his close ties to the current White House.

The controversial Second Amendment case that made headlines in July may be headed back to the Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Colombia for an en banc review. The district's attorney general has formally made a request for an en banc review of the decision holding the district's restrictions on issuing concealed carry permits unconstitutional.

The three judge panel that issued the ruling found that no level of scrutiny was even necessary to analyze the constitutionality of D.C.'s concealed carry restrictions. This conclusion was based upon their finding that the "good reason" requirement served to effectuate an outright ban on the issuance of permits.

On appeal, the D.C. Circuit Court vacated the conviction of Ezra Griffith, who was found guilty of possessing a firearm as a felon. In doing so, the court, in U.S.A. v. Ezra Griffith, clarified what information is necessary in an affidavit to support a search for a cell phone or other electronic storage devices.

The key issue on appeal was whether the Griffith's motion to suppress the evidence gathered during a search of his home was properly denied. While the lower court found that the search warrant was not proper, it nevertheless allowed the evidence discovered during the search to be used at trial, as it found the good-faith exception applied. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals saw it differently and has raised the bar for what's acceptable in a search warrant affidavit in support of seizing a cell phone.

Circuit Strikes EPA Ban on Aerosol Chemical

Somewhere in the contentious air over climate change, the Environmental Protection Agency went too far.

A federal appeals court said that happened when the EPA banned hydrofluorocarbons, a chemical found in aerosol spray cans that scientists have linked to global warming. The agency has authority to outlaw ozone-depleting chemicals, but HFC's are not ozone-depleting.

"Here, EPA has tried to jam a square peg (regulating non-ozone-depleting substances that may contribute to climate change) into a round hole (the existing statutory landscape)," Judge Brett Kavanaugh wrote in Mexichem Fluor, Inc. v. Environmental Protection Agency.

Risk of Identity Theft Is Injury Enough for Federal Court Standing

With data breaches occurring daily, the courts have become center stages for deciding who is responsible.

In Attias v. CareFirst, Inc., the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia reviewed the story of customers against a health insurer after hackers compromised their data. A trial court said the plaintiffs didn't allege sufficient injury to confer federal court standing.

Drawing on "experience and common sense," however, the appeals court turned the spotlight on the company and said the potential for identify theft was injury enough.

DC Circuit Takes on the 'Case of the Incredible Shrinking Seat'

It's not your imagination if you think airline seats are getting smaller. Even the U.S Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has taken note.

"As many have no doubt noticed, aircraft seats and the spacing between them have been getting smaller and smaller, while American passengers have been growing in size," Judge Patricia Millett wrote in Flyers Rights Education Fund v. Federal Aviation Administration.

The countries of Sudan and Iran may finally be getting some relief from an over $14 billion judgment entered against them in the U.S. Federal District Court. The judgment is the result of an action filed against the nations for harboring the terrorists, members of al Qaeda, responsible for a coordinated attack on two U.S. embassies abroad in 1998.

Unfortunately for the two nations, neither lodged an appearance before the judgment was made final. Since that time, the nation of Sudan has appealed the judgment, and lost. However, the most recent order trimmed the $4 billion plus award of punitive damages off the total judgment.