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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was established in the wake of the 2007 financial meltdown that gave birth to the "Great Recession." Created by the 2010's Dodd-Frank Act, the CFPB was to operate as a Wall Street watchdog agency. To ensure its independence from political interference, it was to have a single director who, once appointed, could only be removed for cause.

That level of independence, however, was too much for the D.C. Circuit. A three judge panel ruled earlier this month that the CFPB's structure gave too much authority to its director, in violation of the executive powers given to the President. An independent director who could not be fired without cause, the court found, was a "threat to individual liberty."

In 2015, years of intense grass roots opposition succeeded in shutting down the Key Stone XL Pipeline, a massive pipeline that would run from the intensely polluting Alberta tar sands to the Gulf Coast. Since then, pipeline fights have remained at the forefront of environmental fights. One of the most recent battles is over the Dakota Access pipeline, a $3.8 billion project that would transfer crude oil from North Dakota's Bakken oil fields to Illinois, and through the sacred lands of many Native American groups.

Now, the Standing Rock Sioux are suing. The tribe turned to the D.C. Circuit yesterday, asking it to impose a temporary injunction on further pipeline work while the tribe litigates whether the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers properly consulted with it before approving the project.

As the FBI announced that it would not recommend indicting Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server while secretary of state on Tuesday, the D.C. Circuit simultaneously ruled that emails kept on private accounts could be subject to Freedom of Information Act requests.

The ruling didn't touch on Hillary's emails. Rather, it involved the little-known White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. But the implications for Hillary and other politicians are clear: keeping government records on private servers may not shield them from public scrutiny.

Sure, residents of Washington, D.C. don't have real representation in Congress and can easily have their laws overturned by that same body, but they've got something that's almost better now. FindLaw now has the best, easiest-to-use District of Columbia Codes around.

And unlike the Metro, they're actually mobile (-friendly). And free. Here's why you should be excited.

Internet Can Be Treated as Utility, DC Circuit Rules

In a major ruling last week, the DC Circuit left undisturbed the FCC's decision on forced net neutrality. Internet service providers balked at the notion that the internet should be regarded as a utility. But they will simply have to get used to this new reality.

This decision, which surprised both proponents and opponents alike, means several things, including more litigation.

Students Can Get Discounted FOIA Fees, DC Circuit Rules

Students are educators, too. At least this was the opinion of the DC Circuit, which just opined that documents falling under the FOIA umbrella ought to be cheaper to access for students under the "educational institution" exception.

This appears to be a change in the direction of the FOIA application, as the government has generally held that teachers are eligible for FOIA's reduced fees, but students may not enjoy reduced fees.

Obamacare is unconstitutional, a federal district judge ruled yesterday -- at least as far as the law's reimbursements to insurers are concerned. Under the Affordable Care Act, insurers must reduce co-payments and deductibles for low-income consumers. The federal government then reimburses insurers for those deductions, at the cost of several billion dollars a year.

But, the ACA did not specifically appropriate money for those reimbursements, and the Obama administration could not cover those payments under other provisions, the court ruled, without violating Congress's exclusive right to control government spending.

No, it's not 2003 anymore, but Netflix still sends millions of DVDs through the Postal Service every week. Indeed, Netflix alone purchases 97 percent of the U.S. Postal Service's "round-trip" mailers, the products that allow you to return a mailed DVD with an enclosed envelope, no extra postage necessary.

Currently, the law restricts how much the Postal Service can charge for those mailers. USPS had recently sought to change that, seeking to raise rates on those red envelopes, but their request was denied by the Postal Regulatory Commission. The Service sued, but the D.C. Circuit declined to undo the Commission's ruling on Tuesday. Netflix customers, your DVD deliveries are safe for now.

Will Scalia's Replacement Come From the DC Circuit?

Now that one of the most dogged voices of social conservatism has passed away, many are wondering what the implications will be for many of the SCOTUS cases that are scheduled to be heard by the justices.

As Capitol Hill sets about tripping over itself after Scalia's death, let's consider what the implications for the DC Circuit will be.

'Coalition' Attempts Fail to Roadblock the EPA's Clean Power Plan

Attempts to block the EPA's Clean Power Plan through the use of a judicial stay have failed and state utilities have been greenlit to begin implementing the CPP. A coalition of various coal and fossil fuel interests failed to convince a panel of judges that they met the "stringent requirements for a pending court review."

This means that the Plan, which seeks to put severe limitations on carbon pollution by existing plants, will be in effect until June.