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Arrivederci, Judge Kermit Bye!

On Wednesday, the Eighth Circuit judge's office confirmed that Bye will assume senior status this spring -- April 22, to be exact -- in order to reduce his caseload and spend more time with his family, The Associated Press reports. The move will be on the 15th anniversary of his appointment to the Eighth Circuit bench (April 22, 2000).

Though Judge Bye surely has had a number of significant opinions over the years, his lambasting of the State of Missouri in two recent death penalty cases -- both of which ended in executions before the federal courts could review the inmates' final challenges -- were especially passionate and memorable.

Predictably, the Ninth Circuit leads the pack so far in cert. grants with eight, but who's No. 2? If you guessed the Fifth Circuit, you'd be wrong: It's the Eighth!

That many from North Dakota? Iowa? Arkansas? Yup, the Court will hear five cases from the Eighth Circuit this term (at least so far). Here they are:

This one's a doozy.

Jane Doe met Sammy Hagar in 1983 when she was working as a Playboy bunny at the Playboy Club in Lansing, Michigan. In 1988, Doe told Hagar she was pregnant and he was the father, which he denied, but signed an agreement with Doe, anyway. The child was born, but died shortly afterward. In a 2011 autobiography, Hagar said that the paternity claim was just an attempt to extort money out of him and he doubts there ever was a baby at all. Doe sued for defamation. The district court granted summary judgment for Hagar. In a ruling today, the Eighth Circuit reversed some of that summary judgment.

I think that about sums it up.

45 Years Later: A Look Back at Tinker, Students, and Free Speech

On February 24, 1969, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that neither students nor teachers "shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate."

The well-known case Tinker v. Des Moines permits school administrators to restrict students' free speech rights when that free speech is likely to cause substantial disruption.

The landmark case celebrated its 45th anniversary this week.

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.

V-Day for Law Students: Fall in Love With Pro Bono Work

This Valentine's Day, law students in the Eighth Circuit should rekindle their flame with humanity. Go ahead, take a break from fretting about your classes and job prospects, and show some love to your community.

Plus, it's the gift that keeps on giving. You may not realize it, but doing pro bono work can improve your job prospects.

How's that for a socially acceptable love affair?

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 uscourts.gov, 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?

Documentary on 8th Cir. Case on T. Rex Bones Kicks Off Sundance

In 1990, paleontologist Pete Larson discovered the most complete Tyrannosaurus rex on record in the badlands of South Dakota.

But Larson's honeymoon period following his stunning discovery was short-lived. A legal battle of equally epic proportions ensued with multiple parties jumping at ownership of the 65-million-year-old bones -- even the federal government.

The historic discovery -- and equally historic legal battle -- is the subject of a new documentary titled "Dinosaur 13" that was top-featured at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

A Holiday Reading List for the 8th Circuit

If you're looking for some holiday reading material, have you considered looking into books on the Eighth Circuit?

Whether you're in transit or relishing your time off during the holidays, an exploration into the Eighth Circuit's history or the life of a judge may be the perfect way to keep your mind sharp over the winter lull -- with a mug of hot chocolate in hand, of course.

Not sure where to look? Don't worry, we've got that covered.