U.S. Fifth Circuit

U.S. Fifth Circuit - The FindLaw 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog


Mississippi's governor and its executive director of the state's Department of Human Services are asking the Fifth Circuit to stay a federal court's preliminary injunction against the state's Religious Liberty Accommodations Act, known as HB 1523. That law seeks to protect opponents of gay marriage in both public and private services, who take actions "based upon or in a manner consistent with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction."

Judge Carlton W. Reeves blocked the law just moments before it would have gone into effect on July 1st. "There are almost endless explanations for how HB 1523 condones discrimination against the LGBT community, but in its simplest terms it denies LGBT citizens equal protection under the law," Judge Reeves wrote. Afterword, the Mississippi attorney general refused to appeal that ruling. Now the governor and human services director are stepping into his place.

Texas Voter ID Law Deemed Unconstitutional by 5th Circuit

The Fifth Circuit has just ruled that a Texas law requiring persons to produce a government-issued ID before casting their ballots is discriminatory and is in violation of the Voting Rights Act, according to Reuters. What is most surprising is that this circuit court is generally known to be one of the most conservative in the nation.

The decision was lauded by U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch. "This decision affirms our position that Texas's highly restrictive voter ID law abridges the right to vote on account of race or color and orders appropriate relief before yet another election passes," she said.

5th Circuit: No Fundamental Right to Machine Guns Under 2nd Amendment

According to the Fifth Circuit, citizens do not have a fundamental right to own or possess machine guns under the Bill of Rights. It's a blow to Rambo and Commando fans nationwide.

The case of Hollis v. ATF might very well be the next case to draw a line in the sand after Heller with respect to Americans and their guns.

The Supreme Court ended its most recent term with a bang on Monday, reversing the Fifth Circuit and declaring that Texas's restrictions on abortion providers constituted an undue burden on a woman's access to abortion, in violation of the Constitution.

In Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, the Court rejected the Fifth Circuit's determination that uncertainty about the health risks of abortion can justify restrictions on physicians. Instead, the Court found that any such restrictions must be based on convincing medical evidence, to be evaluated by courts, not lawmakers, and any burdens those restrictions impose must be outweighed by their health benefits. The ruling is certain to affect many pending abortion lawsuits, in the Fifth Circuit and beyond.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen first started making national headlines when he blocked President Obama's immigration reform plan, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, last year. But while that decision is now before the Supreme Court, Judge Hanen isn't quite ready to let go. Last month, he put himself in charge of ethics retraining for all Department of Justice attorneys practicing in any of the 26 states involved in the suit.

And now he's seeking to collect the names and addresses of more than 50,000 undocumented immigrants in those states -- something civil rights lawyers moved rapidly to stop.

The ExxonMobile industrial complex in Baytown, Texas is a sprawling place. Stretching over nearly 2,500 acres over five square miles, the complex, the second largest oil refinery in the country, is capable of processing more than half a million barrels of oil a day -- along with significant amounts of air pollution. And according to Texas environmental groups, Exxon's plant regularly violated the terms of its operating permits, belching far more pollution into the air than what was permitted.

Six years ago, those groups brought suit under the Clean Air Act, accusing Exxon of thousands of violations at its Baytown plant. A district court found only 94 of the thousands of alleged violations to be "actionable" and refused to impose any penalties against the world's largest oil company. But those groups received some vindication from the Fifth Circuit last week, when that court ruled the district court had abused its discretion by "declining to impose any penalties, issue a declaratory judgment or grant injunctive relief in remediation of the violations at issue."

Judge Hanen Blasts DOJ, Orders Ethics Class for Attorneys

A Texas judge issued a very scathing and very public finger wagging at the Department of Justice lawyers who argued the DOJ's case before him concerning President Obama's amnesty program. In fact, a few were ordered by the judge to learn their place and to take ethics courses.

Considering the effort and length of his extraordinary order, we have to mention how interesting it is that Judge Andrew W. Hanen takes "neither joy nor finds satisfaction" with his actions.

5th Cir. Gets Technical in a Case Challenging TX Ticket Cameras

The Fifth Circuit rejected a traffic violation camera companies' attempts to drag a challenge to their validity into a federal court. The circuit court held that the more proper venue was Texas' court system.

In a wonderfully technical case that would be fit for discussion in any advanced civil procedure course, the court details rather entertainingly just how it came to its decision.

Is Making a Terror Threat a Crime of Moral Turpitude?

In a case that circles around the question of whether making terrorist threats is a crime of moral turpitude, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals moved against the majority convention and remanded the BIA case to be reviewed under a correct application of law.

This is a good opportunity for immigration lawyers to understand the applicable law for their next IJ hearing.

Retired Army Officer Defrauded U.S. Gov't, 5th Circuit Says

It's a disgraceful ending after years in the service, but the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to disturb a lower court's criminal conviction of a retired U.S. Army Colonel who was earlier found by a jury to have knowingly defrauded the US government.

Sixteen counts of wire fraud will be difficult to overcome, no doubt.