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

December 2014 Archives

Your 10 Favorite D.C. Circuit Posts of 2014

Whenever something goes wrong with our nation's governance, the D.C. Circuit is the first to hear about it. (Well, really, it's the second -- after the D.C. District Court.) From lawsuits against the president to immigration challenges, the D.C. Circuit has seen it all.

So what did you, dear readers, find the most interesting in 2014? Take a look out our Top 10 D.C. Circuit Posts of 2014:

Joe Arpaio's Suit Against Obama's Immigration Policies Dismissed

A lawsuit filed against President Obama by the self-styled "America's Toughest Sheriff" was dismissed today by Judge Beryl A. Howell in the D.C. District Court.

In his complaint, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio claimed that Obama's new immigration policy, announced last month, was unconstitutional. Rather than dismiss Arpaio's case out of hand for lack of standing, Howell delves into the deep questions of justiciability raised by the lawsuit. Then she dismisses it for lack of standing.

KBR Employee Appeals D.C. Circuit Ruling in Whistleblower Suit

In 2005, Harry Barko, an employee of government contractor Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR), filed a False Claims Act complaint. KBR, which at the time was a subsidiary of Halliburton, provided military support services in Iraq. Barko alleged that KBR was inflating costs and receiving kickbacks.

This case, for which Barko filed a cert. petition with the U.S. Supreme Court, isn't even about all that yet. This is a case about the limits of attorney-client privilege.

Congress Attempts to Block D.C. Marijuana Legalization

As we noted last month, Washington, D.C.'s voter-approved recreational marijuana law is subject to a veto by Congress, which has the last word in administration over the District. Well, it looks like Congress is going to severely harsh people's mellows.

Buried in a 2015 appropriations bill -- on pages 213 to 214, to be exact -- is a paragraph noting that "none of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used" by any of the states or jurisdictions that legalize marijuana in any form to implement those laws. (We should note that the text of this bill only seems to affect "medical marijuana," but an appropriations committee flyer suggests that forthcoming legislation will apply to any kind of marijuana.)

D.C. Dist. Ct. Denies Motion to Suppress in Laptop Seizure Case

In 2011, Homeland Security received an anonymous tip that someone was trying to help an Iranian company obtain relays for an Iranian power project. The source shared an email from that person, which contained a phone number. Homeland Security searched for this number in its secret database and found a match for a number in Los Angeles.

They searched for more information in their database, finding that the suspect -- Shantia Hassanshahi -- had been investigated before for violating the Iranian trade embargo. More investigations resulted in Hassanshahi being detained at LAX in 2012, during which time his laptop was seized and he was questioned.