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8th Cir. Will Hear Expedited Same-Sex Marriage Appeals

In what The Associated Press called "a surprise," the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals announced that it would hear same-sex marriage appeals from South Dakota, Arkansas, and Missouri in a consolidated oral argument held the week of May 11 in Omaha, Nebraska.

The court agreed not only to consolidate all the cases, but to expedite the appeals. The court's ruling will definitely be influenced by the U.S. Supreme Court's opinion in the Sixth Circuit same-sex marriage cases, which it will hear some time this term.

8th Cir. Year in Review: Top 10 Blog Posts of 2014

We're wrapping up our 2014 "year in review" series, continuing with a circuit close to my heart -- the Eighth Circuit, home of my native land of Missouri.

What happened in the Eighth Circuit this year? A whole lot of everything, actually. Unlike most other circuits, there were no gay marriage appeals to take over the headlines. Instead, this circuit dealt with everything ordinary: prisoners' rights litigation, allegedly dangerous drugs, and lawyers acting stupid.

Here are your Top 10 Eighth Circuit blog posts for 2014:

Ex-Police Chief Affair Lawsuit Tossed; 8th Cir. Appeal Possible

A district court judge has dismissed a woman's lawsuit against the city of Scottsbluff, Nebraska, and its former police chief Alex Moreno.

The suit involves dramatic allegations and tales of intrigue: police power, a sexual rendezvous, and harassment.

Albeit a lusty page-turner, U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf was unmoved by Tamara Villanueva's claims and dismissed the suit.

8th Cir. Judge Almost Made It To SCOTUS Bench, Says Clinton Memo

People often don't know that Justice Stephen Breyer edged out a judge on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals for his spot on the U.S. Supreme Court.

It was 1994, and Justice Harry Blackmun announced his retirement. Just one year prior, President Bill Clinton appointed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the Court, instead of Stephen Breyer. His job interview apparently didn't go well because of a bike accident -- something he's known for getting into.

Newly uncovered documents from Diane Blair, a confidante of Hillary Clinton who documented the power couple's conversations, reveal there was actually a fair amount of drama involved in the decision-making process of Clinton's second SCOTUS appointment.

Looking for Appellate Skills? Check Out WUSTL's Appellate Clinic

Law students who are looking for hands-on experience in the appellate realm in circuits that allow law students to make court appearances may want to look into appellate clinics.

One such clinic, the Appellate Clinic at Washington University in St. Louis, lets students represent pro se litigants in cases to be heard by the Eighth Circuit. It's among only a handful of programs nationally that provide law students with an opportunity to represent clients in appellate cases.

When 8th Cir. Website, PACER Go Down, What's a Lawyer to Do?

You may have noticed that you couldn't access the Eighth Circuit's website last Friday. Rest assured, you're not alone.

Lawyers across the nation grappled with the massive outage. PACER went on the blink as well as, most if not all federal court sites, and the federal court's public hub, according to The Washington Post.

What the heck happened and, more importantly, what should you do if it happens again?

Watch Out for 3 Minnesota Court Scams

Last week, we discussed an email scam about fake court cases. But Minnesota courts are actually experiecing a number of other scams, ranging from phony warrants to threatening phone calls.

Here's a rundown of three scams to look out for:

Virus Alert: Beware Email Scam About Fake Court Cases

A new email scam is popping up in inboxes nationwide, including in Minnesota. The phony emails purport to come from federal and state courts, but when opened, they infect recipients with computer viruses.

In particular, the emails instruct recipients to make a court appearance at a specific day and time. The emails also instruct recipients to review an attached document for detailed case information.

The U.S. District Court of Minnesota issued a warning about this scam on Christmas Eve, when we were all busy catching up on our holiday reading.

Government Shutdown? No Problem! 8th Cir. Is Open for Business

When October 17th rolls around, if the judiciary funding is exhausted due to the government shutdown, the Eighth Circuit will still keep its doors open.

As we've discussed before, federal courts are financially running on fumes, trying to maintain operations set at the minimum required for Article III obligations.

But the Eighth Circuit is holding sown the fort. Chief Judge William Jay Riley entered an order last week declaring that "the work of all Eighth Circuit Court Staff is necessary and essential to support the exercise of the Court's Article III judicial power," according to the memo released by Clerk of Court Michael E. Gans.

Rosalie Wahl, First Woman on Minn. Supreme Court, Dies at 88

A somber moment for the Eighth Circuit, Rosalie Wahl, the first woman to serve on the Minnesota Supreme Court, passed away on Monday at age 88. Wahl, who was appointed to Minnesota’s highest court in 1977 by Gov. Rudy Perpich, wrote more than 500 legal opinions during her 17 years there, reports the Minnesota Public Radio.

In 2006, when a group commissioned a portrait of Wahl to hang permanently at William Mitchell law school, she recalled a lack of visible female role models in her time. “When I went to law school, I’d sit in the library and down at the end, they had a portrait. And the portrait was of John Sanborn, who […] was a judge of the 8th Circuit, I think,” she said. “I never saw a woman judge. I never had a chance to practice in front of one.”