10 Things the D.C. Circuit Taught Us in 2013 - Court News - DC Circuit
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10 Things the D.C. Circuit Taught Us in 2013

Here we are already, rounding the corner to 2014. It seems like 2013 flew by, but the D.C. Circuit saw a good deal of action in that time.

As we gear up for yet another year of D.C. jurisprudence, let's relive some of the lessons the D.C. Circuit taught us in 2013:

  1. Filibuster reform does work. After what seemed like half a year's worth of stonewalling and posturing, the Senate finally confirmed three nominees to the D.C. Circuit bench. Going "nuclear" never worked so good!
  2. Nuclear energy can't be ignored. Speaking of "nuclear," we learned that the D.C. Circuit doesn't take kindly to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission resting on its laurels and not reviewing applications like the one for Yucca Mountain. Statutory duties can be a pain.
  3. FDA can't let zzz meds be kill pills. Prisons that were using thiopental -- an anesthetic drug sold by the menacing sounding Dream Pharma -- should have been stopped by the FDA for importing the drug for an off-label use. Turning a blind eye to this sort of smuggling is no bueno.
  4. Even 'radical feminists' make the cut. Nina Pillard, the law professor who was the conservative boogeywoman of this year's confirmation hearings, was eventually confirmed to the D.C. Circuit.
  5. Don't make racially charged comments. Some allegedly racist remarks from the Fifth Circuit's Judge Edith Jones landed her before the D.C. Circuit's judicial council to examine concerns about her impartiality and conduct.
  6. A single slur is enough. If you needed more proof why racial slurs are dangerous, the D.C. Circuit's Judge Kavanaugh opined that being called the "n-word" -- even once -- is sufficient to establish a hostile work environment.
  7. Obama's NLRB appointments unconstitutional. In a decision that may be affected by the four new appointees to the bench, the D.C. Circuit struck down three Obama appointees to the National Labor Relations Board in 2012.
  8. Fraudlent search warrants may still be valid. Even when they're studded with lies like raisins in a "chocolate chip" cookie, search warrants based on false statements can still survive a motion to suppress.
  9. Former felons can be D.C. Circuit clerks. Well, at least one can. Shon Hopwood, whose life is definitely movie-worthy, served time in the federal P for robbery. But starting next year he'll be clerking for Judge Janice Rogers Brown.
  10. Federal air marshals have loose e-lips. For those flying this holiday season, the person next to you on your flight may be a federal air marshal. And his or her job demands some discretion with personal info, even on the Internet.

With the new members on the court and more politics to be played, the D.C. Circuit has plenty more to teach in 2014.

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