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While much ado was being made of the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision, another case that could be the death knell for Obamacare flew below the radar -- that is, until the D.C. Circuit ruled against the Obama administration. Then, everyone was all ears. That's because the court's decision -- if adopted by other circuits -- could mean the end of the Affordable Care Act as we know it.

But you didn't think the Obama administration would stop there, did you? Last Friday, the administration filed a petition for rehearing en banc. Let's explore whether the D.C. Circuit will grant the petition.

This might be the quickest circuit split we've ever seen: Within hours of each other, the D.C. Circuit and the Fourth Circuit each ruled on parallel challenges to Obamacare subsidies provided to individuals who purchase insurance through the federal exchange.

The D.C. Circuit "reluctantly" ruled against the government, holding that the unambiguous text of the statute, which provides only for subsides for insurance policies "enrolled in through an Exchange established by the State," supports the plaintiffs' contention that the IRS was not authorized to provide tax credits individuals using the federal exchange. A dissenting judge from the D.C. Circuit, as well as the Fourth Circuit, disagreed, holding that the language of the statute as a whole is ambiguous, and that the IRS's interpretation was a "permissible exercise of the agency's discretion."

It's an instant circuit split, one that could end up before the U.S. Supreme Court as early as next term, depending on whether en banc review in the two courts is sought or granted.

We wouldn't exactly call the D.C. Circuit the sleeper circuit, but let's just say that since it covers a small area, big headlines aren't made as frequently as say, the Second or Ninth Circuit. Not so, lately. As the Court sits in our nation's capital, it's getting politically charged lately with high profile cases making their way into the circuit.

Here's an update on changes to the bench, impending trials and controversies.

The District of Columbia has some positions open for attorneys, so get your resumes ready. To start, the District of Columbia election for Attorney General has proven contentious with the public and politicians at odds about when the election should take place.

And in less controversial job hunting, the D.C. Court of Appeals has announced that the application period for the Criminal Justice Act Panel is now open.

Want to spend more time practicing, and less time advertising? Leave the marketing to the experts.

Today the District of Columbia Court of Appeals announced proposed changes to Circuit Rules 25, 26 and 32. These rules have been a long time coming, as they are designed to replace the requirements for Case Management / Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) system, which were adopted by Administrative Order filed on May 15, 2009. The proposed rules would incorporate the CM/ECF requirements into existing Circuit Rules.

Here's a closer look at the changes.

As the country awaits the Supreme Court's decisions in Hobby Lobby and Conestoga regarding the Obamacare contraception mandates, related cases are making their way through circuit courts around the country.

While Hobby Lobby and Conestoga deal with secular, for-profit corporations and their ability to "exercise religion," another emerging trend in contraception mandate cases will likely be the next Obamacare case before the Court.

FDA to Regulate E-Cigarettes as Tobacco Products

Back in 2010, the D.C. Circuit Court ruled that the FDA did not have the authority to regulate e-cigs as medical devices as long as they weren't marketed with therapeutic claims -- as in, "it'll help you quit smoking." Well, when the D.C. Circuit closes one door, the FDA breaks open a window.

The FDA is set to begin regulating e-cigs as tobacco products, the Los Angeles Times reports. Today the FDA proposed rules that would ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors (already outlawed in some states), while continuing to allow advertising, online sales (presumably with online age verification), and flavored liquids that might or might not appeal to children.

The proposed regulation would also require that e-cigarette packaging carry the following message:

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.