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Doctors' Obamacare Lawsuit Dismissal Affirmed by D.C. Circuit

The D.C. Circuit has affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by medical doctors challenging the constitutionality of the implementation of Obamacare.

In Association of American Physicians and Surgeons v. Sebelius, one of the arguments asserted by the plaintiffs was that Congress violated the Origination Clause of the U.S. Constitution when it enacted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The case had been dismissed by the D.C. District Court for lack of standing and failure to state a claim by the association. The doctors appealed that dismissal, but were unsuccessful.

American Samoans Challenge Denial of U.S. Citizenship

Six American Samoans are getting a chance to challenge a federal law in the D.C. Circuit that labels them as U.S. nationals, but not citizens.

The D.C. District Court granted the government's motion to dismiss, but the D.C. Circuit has decided to give the American Samoans a chance to argue their case, according to the Pacific News Center.

According to the original opinion, the State Department classifies the country as an "unincorporated territory."

Judge Disses Think Tank's 'Imaginative' FOIA Request

A D.C. federal judge tossed out Competitive Enterprise Institute's (CEI) FOIA lawsuit against the EPA partially because it contained an "imaginative conspiracy theory."

In Competitive Enterprise Institute v. EPA, Judge James E. Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for D.C. found that CEI was using weak (albeit creative) arguments to compel the EPA to release about a thousand withheld emails.

So what made Judge Boasberg declare CEI's arguments to be an "imaginative conspiracy theory?"

Obamacare Tax Credit Lawsuit Struck Down by D.C. District Court

A lawsuit challenging the extension of Obamacare tax credits to federally run health insurance markets was struck down by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

In Halbig v. Sebelius, plaintiffs sued the Obama administration regarding an IRS rule that states that enrollees of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in either state-operated or federally-run health insurance markets will be eligible for premium tax credits, The Washington Times reports. Plaintiffs argued that the law's language limits tax credits to health exchanges in state-operated markets only.

U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman disagreed and found that the rule does indeed apply to both state-run and federally-facilitated health exchanges.

FOIA's Deliberative Process Privilege Protects OLC Opinion

The Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held that FOIA's deliberative process privilege allows the Department of Justice to deny a request for an Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) Opinion.

The OLC Opinion requested by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) discusses the FBI's authority to request phone records from service providers, but the request was denied after appealing to the D.C. Circuit.

So, how does this case affect FOIA requests?

The D.C. District Court ruled on Monday that the NSA's efforts in collecting phone metadata nationwide are most likely unconstitutional.

In Klayman v. Obama, the District Court Judge Richard J. Leon laid out a scathing, 68-page opinion outlining the myriad reasons why he believed a preliminary injunction was proper to block the NSA's phone surveillance -- largely because he agreed that Klayman was likely to succeed on the merits of his constitutional claims, reports The Washington Post.

Why is this district court decision so different than the past NSA cases?

Guantanamo detainee and alleged al Qaeda member Abdul Razak Ali was denied habeas relief by the D.C. Circuit on Tuesday, noting that circumstantial evidence is sufficient to detain an enemy combatant.

In the latest appeal in Abdul Razak Ali v. Obama, Ali claimed that when he was captured in an al Qaeda camp in Pakistan in 2002, that it was really just a case of wrong place/wrong time.

The D.C. Circuit did not buy it.

D.C. Circuit Weighs In on "Blackfish" and SeaWorld's OSHA 'Tale'

The CNN-produced documentary "Blackfish," premiering at the Sundance Film Festival, is a whale of a tale landing SeaWorld in a sea of legal woes.

The film traces a 39-year history of killer whales in captivity leading up to the graphic 2010 killing of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau by the 12,000-pound orca, Tilikum, a whale previously associated with the deaths of two other people.

A cautionary tale, "Blackfish" highlights the captivity of orcas, the chilling danger it poses to whale trainers, and the wave of legal liability in which SeaWorld is now drowning.

Moving into the birth control mandate discussion on Friday, the D.C. Circuit ruled on a religious challenge to the ACA's contraceptive in a split decision with some definite quirks.

In Gilardi v. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, the D.C. Circuit was split on whether the Gilardi family, who are staunch Catholics and oppose contraception, were denied free exercise by having to choose between their businesses offering health care coverage and their religious beliefs.

Where does D.C. fall in the spectrum of its Sister Circuits on the question of corporations exerting free exercise claims?

Cab drivers and gun owners -- two groups not known for their heroic patience -- are anxious to have their cases decided by the D.C. federal courts.

The cabbies are honking mad over a new slew of taxi regulations that may put a strain on the District's most veteran drivers. And the gun owners have fired off a petition to the D.C. Circuit appellate court, hoping it will force the D.C. district court to decide on the issue of public carrying of firearms.

Let's discuss these two impatient cases.