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D.C. Fed. Courts May Eliminate Reciprocity Rule

D.C. federal courts plan to formally propose new reciprocity rules that will allow any lawyer in good standing and admitted to practice law in his or her home state to be admitted to practice in our nation's capital.

Currently, the rules only grant admission to lawyers who are admitted in a state that has a federal district which has a reciprocal admission relationship with D.C. attorneys, according to the ABA Journal.

If the new rules are adopted, it means that lawyers planning to practice in the D.C. federal courts won't need to take the bar exam.

It's been a long and strange road on the way to net neutrality, and the D.C. Circuit has been a key part of that journey.

As of Wednesday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decided to drop any plans to appeal the D.C. Circuit's striking of the Commission's anti-blocking rules, opting instead to do a re-write, The Washington Post reported.

Can we expect the FCC to produce viable net neutrality guidelines this time around?

Oral Arguments Rescheduled For Next Week

Due to Mother Nature's wintery ways, the D.C. Circuit is rescheduling oral arguments that were originally set for Thursday, February 13, 2014 to be heard on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 2:00 p.m.

While it's unclear if the Court of Appeals itself will be closed, attorneys who have oral arguments scheduled for tomorrow will be getting an unexpected extension on their case.

In the meantime, grab some hot cocoa and get to work.

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.

Changes to Law Clerk Hiring by D.C. Circuit Judges Start in 2014

The D.C. Circuit judges have made changes to their law clerk hiring practices for the 2014-2015 term.

In the past, judges were encouraged to hire third-year law student students based on the Federal Law Clerk Hiring Plan. However, the plan wasn't a requirement for the judges, and many opted to hire based on their own timelines, so the hiring system was not cohesive amongst all the circuit judges, the D.C. Circuit Court website explains.

Now hiring terms are based solely on a judge's discretion and "exploding offers" are off the table.

A new year brings new email scams and frauds in the D.C. District Courts and state courts.

In addition to emails containing a virus or fake cases, individuals are being targeted with jury scams and arrest warrant scams. The scams tell people that if they don't pay up, they'll be arrested, according to the U.S. District Court for D.C.'s website.

Net Neutrality: D.C. Circuit Strikes Down FCC's Anti-Blocking Rules

The D.C. Circuit struck down relevant portions of the FCC's Open Internet rules resulting in a slightly more claustrophobic Internet.

The D.C. Circuit eliminated the anti-blocking and anti-discrimination requirements in the FCC's Open Internet Order. The ruling was based on the Verizon v. FCC case, where Verizon challenged the FCC's authority to impose the rules on broadband networks.

This case is a big win for ISPs and sets a strong precedent for future network neutrality cases.

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:

D.C. Circuit nominee Nina Pillard was confirmed on Thursday morning, making her the second Obama nominee to be confirmed to the Court since the filibuster reform.

At around 1 a.m. in D.C., the Senate confirmed Pillard by a vote of 51-44, reports The Associated Press. This was after hearing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) do his best Scrooge impression and tell the collected Senators that they would be "work[ing] though Christmas" if these confirmations didn't go as planned.

But will Pillard's addition to the court be that much of a bah-humbug change?

With the "nuclear option" engaged and filibuster rules amended, Senate Democrats have begun the second phase of the plan: voting on the three Obama nominees to the D.C. Circuit.

On Tuesday, the Senate took that step by confirming Patricia Millett to the D.C. Circuit bench, the first of the three nominees to the Court to be pushed aside by Republican filibuster in late October and November, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Will the new filibuster rules allow Pillard and Wilkins to join the D.C. Circuit bench as well?