U.S. Eleventh Circuit - The FindLaw 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

December 2011 Archives

Circuit Asks Alabama Supreme Court for Political Activity Ruling

Can a law amending state payroll protocols violate free speech rights? Last week, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the answer to that question turns on the state's interpretation of the law.

Alabama permits public employees to request that the Alabama State Comptroller arrange for the payment of membership dues for employee organizations by payroll deductions. In 2010, the Comptroller's Office changed its policy regarding such deductions, and declined requests for deductions that benefited organizations involved in political activities, including the Alabama Education Association, and its political action committee, A-VOTE. Lawsuits followed.

Rationally Related: Court OKs Prison Pen Pal Solicitation Ban

The U.S. Postal Service is in financial trouble. The latest proposed patch to save the service includes eliminating 28,000 jobs and cutting next-day first class mail delivery, reports The New York Times.

But while the Postal Workers Union is considering a "send a letter to your mom" campaign to increase postal revenue, and the Postal Service is running commercials promoting the sense of security that comes with a printed statement, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals is impeding the Postal Service's comeback in Florida.

This week, the Eleventh Circuit upheld a Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) prison pen pal-solicitation ban on the grounds that the measure was rationally related to a legitimate penological interest.

ASU Didn't Violate Jennifer Keeton's Free Speech Rights

That didn’t take long.

Less than three weeks after hearing oral arguments in former graduate student Jennifer Keeton’s free speech rights appeal, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a district court decision that Augusta State University (ASU) did not run afoul of the Constitution in removing Keeton from the school’s graduate program in counseling.

Will Jennifer Keeton Win 11th Circuit Free Speech Rights Case?

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments recently in a First Amendment case involving a Christian counseling student who claims she was unconstitutionally suspended from an Augusta State University (ASU) program for her belief that homosexuality is morally wrong.

The American Civil Liberties Union has described the student, Jennifer Keeton, as the "counseling student who insisted on a right to discriminate against LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender] clients," while the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), which represents Keeton, says "she was told her Christian beliefs are unethical and incompatible with the prevailing views of the counseling profession." ADF claims that the University violated Keeton's religious and free speech rights.

SCOTUS To Hear Arizona v. US: State Immigration Laws in Trouble?

Yesterday, the Supreme Court granted a writ of certiorari in Arizona v. U.S., the immigration law case challenging Arizona S.B. 1070. That means that by the end of 2012, we'll know whether federal immigration laws preclude Arizona's attempt at cooperative law enforcement and facially preempt four provisions of S.B. 1070.

What will this case mean for the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which is considering actions to enjoin two of the six controversial state immigration laws currently in place? Any decision from the Eleventh Circuit will be trumped by the Supreme Court's take on the issue.

Court Grants Mother Seeking Asylum to Stop FGM a BIA Review

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals granted a petition for review this week to a Senegalese mother seeking asylum to protect her minor daughter, a U.S. citizen, from the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM).

The Court declined to reach the question of whether the petitioner, who opposes the practice of FGM on her daughter, falls within a "particular social group" for purposes of withholding of removal, and remanded the issue for a Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) review.

Petitioner Ndeye Ndicke Seck, a native and citizen of Senegal, gave birth to her daughter, B.D., while in the U.S. as a tourist. She returned to Senegal two months later.

Transgender Woman Wins Employment Discrimination Lawsuit

Just five days after hearing oral arguments in an employment discrimination lawsuit, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that an employer may not discriminate against a transgender employee on the basis of gender non-conformity, reports The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

In a unanimous opinion, the three-judge panel ruled that the Georgia General Assembly's Office of Legislative Counsel (OLC) violated the Equal Protection Clause's prohibition on sex-based discrimination by firing Vandy Beth Glenn after she revealed plans to undergo gender reassignment surgery.