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When the FDA appointed twelve members to the Tobacco Products Safety Advisory Committee to advise the commissioner on tobacco products, three members were fairly anti-smoking. They testified as expert witnesses in lawsuits against tobacco companies, for example, and worked with smoking-cessation companies.

After that committee issued an unfavorable report on menthol cigarettes, two tobacco companies sued, alleging that the three Committee members had unlawful conflicts of interest which would require the report to be invalidated. But those cigarette companies don't have standing to challenge to the Committee's makeup, the D.C. Circuit ruled last Friday, noting that the FDA had taken no action on the Committee's report.

So much for ordering a private jet from your smart phone. Flytenow, a start-up aiming to be the "Uber of the skies" has shut down following an adverse ruling from the D.C. Circuit. The app allowed you to hop aboard a private pilot's planned route, provided you pay for your share of expenses.

There was one catch though. Flytenow didn't require its pilots to have a commercial pilot licenses. The Federal Aviation Administration and the D.C. Circuit disagreed, sending the company's dreams down in flames.

Sharif Mobley, a U.S. citizen, has been detained in Yemen for five years -- for reasons unclear to him, his lawyers, or the D.C. Circuit. Mobley claims he was plucked from the streets by armed men, shot, interrogated by the FBI and other federal agencies, and has remained in custody ever since.

Mobley sued to uncover the reasons behind his detention and other "proxy detentions" in Yemen. That information won't be forthcoming anytime soon, though, after the D.C. Circuit rejected his Freedom of Information Act claims.

The Federal Election Commission's campaign disclosure rule was back before the D.C. Circuit last week -- and just in time for a ramped up election season. The disclosure rules in question require groups that spend more than $10,000 annually on electioneering to disclose donors who give more than $1,000 for political ads.

Some critics see that as no disclosure rule at all, but a guide to avoiding disclosure. Want to finance political advertising but remain secret? Just don't say your donations need to be used for ads. Lead by Representative Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat from Maryland, they've spent years challenging the rule.

A law prohibiting political contributions by federal contractors was upheld by a unanimous, en banc D.C. Circuit last week. The eleven judge panel ruled that the law does not violate the First Amendment or equal protection rights of government contractors, the court ruled.

The law was first adopted in 1940, over concerns that businesses would use campaign contributions to influence the government contract process. Those concerns are still valid today, the Court ruled, justifying the narrowly drawn restrictions of the law.

In case you haven't been paying attention, here's the dirt on Sri Srinivasan, a newer arrival to the D.C. Circuit, but widely considered a rising legal star and potential future SCOTUS nominee. A native of India, he grew up in Kansas, graduated from Stanford, and clerked for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Srinivasan gained notice as a private litigator and government lawyer before joining the D.C. Circuit.

Four of the nine Justices currently sitting on the Supreme Court came through the D.C. Circuit. Will Srinivasan be next?

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.

Joe Arpaio Seeks Expedited Schedule for Immigration Lawsuit Appeal

Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, America's self-styled "toughest sheriff," isn't taking "no" for an answer. Just two weeks after the District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed his lawsuit against the Obama Administration and its nascent immigration policy, Arpaio is urging the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to expedite the briefing schedule for this all-important appeal.

What could possibly be so urgent that one of the nation's most important appellate courts has to speed up the calendar for Arpaio's lawsuit?

Your 10 Favorite D.C. Circuit Posts of 2014

Whenever something goes wrong with our nation's governance, the D.C. Circuit is the first to hear about it. (Well, really, it's the second -- after the D.C. District Court.) From lawsuits against the president to immigration challenges, the D.C. Circuit has seen it all.

So what did you, dear readers, find the most interesting in 2014? Take a look out our Top 10 D.C. Circuit Posts of 2014:

KBR Employee Appeals D.C. Circuit Ruling in Whistleblower Suit

In 2005, Harry Barko, an employee of government contractor Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR), filed a False Claims Act complaint. KBR, which at the time was a subsidiary of Halliburton, provided military support services in Iraq. Barko alleged that KBR was inflating costs and receiving kickbacks.

This case, for which Barko filed a cert. petition with the U.S. Supreme Court, isn't even about all that yet. This is a case about the limits of attorney-client privilege.