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

March 2015 Archives

When it comes to federal regulation, the D.C. Circuit is arguably the most important court in the nation. Not only does it see more cases challenging government rulemaking, it throws out those rules regularly -- at a rate significantly higher than any other circuit.

The EPA is no stranger to the less-than-deferential D.C. Circuit, with two recent EPA cases making the news over the past weeks. Last Wednesday, SCOTUS heard oral arguments over the EPA's mercury and air toxics rules, which the D.C. Circuit upheld and several states say improperly ignore costs. The agency was also recently instructed by the circuit to revisit its dust corrosivity standards after an EPA scientist sued, saying that the standards were too lax and failed to protect 9/11 first responders.

A former University of Virginia undergrad who was allegedly sexually assaulted while a student has lost her suit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education for mishandling her complaints against the University.

The plaintiff, suing as Jane Doe, had complained to the agencies that UVA's failure to take action regarding severe sexual harassment and misconduct against her violated Title IX. The departments took no significant action on her complaints, Doe alleged, leading to her lawsuit.

D.C. Cir. Upholds Conviction for Colombian Drug Smuggler

In 2010, Luis Miranda -- also known as "El Gordo" -- was indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiracy to smuggle drugs into the United States, among other places. In 2012, after a federal court rejected his motion to dismiss the charges because the statute was unconstitutional and because the statute didn't apply to his conduct, El Gordo entered an unconditional guilty plea that purported to prevent him from raising the pretrial motions on appeal.

Well, now El Gordo, and an associated named Francisco Valderrama Carvajal, are appealing their convictions on the same grounds as before.

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser told the D.C. Circuit that the dispute between the mayor's office and city council over the District's Budget Autonomy Act is now moot. The Act, a local law, grants D.C. autonomy over its locally raised funds, contrary to the dictates of the federal Home Rule Act which requires that local tax dollars be spent by the District only through congressional appropriations.

Vincent Gray, Bowser's predecessor, had refused to implement the bill, leading to the current litigation. Unlike Gray, Bowser believes the Act is valid. She will likely now move to have the existing suit dismissed.