U.S. Fifth Circuit

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


The Fifth Circuit is set to hear arguments next month in the lawsuit over President Obama's executive actions on immigration, the court has announced. Each side will be given an hour for their arguments which will take place April 17th, in New Orleans.

The case, Texas v. United States, challenged whether the president had the power to prioritize, and deprioritize, immigration enforcement. Several states, lead by Texas, sued the U.S. in order to halt Obama's immigration plan, winning in district court. The arguments scheduled for mid-April will focus on whether the federal government should be prevented from enacting its immigration plans while the case is appealed.

Last year, in Navarette v. California, the U.S. Supreme Court said that an anonymous tip alleging drunk driving was sufficient to create reasonable suspicion for a traffic stop of the car described.

Mississippi doesn't seem so sure. The state's supreme court deviated from Navarette earlier this month when it held that police lacked reasonable suspicion to stop a car based solely on an anonymous allegation of drunk driving.

Two high-ranking BP employees working on the Deepwater Horizon oil-drilling platform when it exploded on April 20, 2010, can't be charged with 23 counts of "seaman's manslaughter," the Fifth Circuit ruled last week.

The issue here is statutory interpretation, and much like the Supreme Court's recent decision that a fish is not a "record," the Fifth Circuit decided that a BP employee is not an "other person" within the meaning of the statute.

The Obama administration's deferred action plan for undocumented immigrants suffered another setback today, as a federal district judge in Texas issued a preliminary injunction ordering the administration to stop enforcing executive orders related to the Deferred Action for Parents or Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA).

Over 123 pages, Judge Andrew Hanen agreed with 26 states that the Obama administration exceeded the scope of its statutory (but not constitutional) authority in creating DAPA.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals this week reversed a district court order requiring a man convicted of sexual offenses against a 14-year-old to maintain Internet monitoring and filtering software on his computer for the rest of his life.

While acknowledging the "broad discretion" district courts have in imposing conditions of supervised release, the Fifth Circuit emphasized that supervised-release conditions must be "reasonably related" to the defendant's conduct.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is hearing arguments today in three separate gay marriage appeals, from Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

The longest pending of these cases is the one from Texas, DeLeon v. Perry, which has been in a holding pattern in the Fifth Circuit for almost a year. Now, nearly 11 months since the district court struck down Texas' same-sex marriage prohibition as unconstitutional, the parties will have their chance (at 30 minutes per side) to have their cases heard before the appellate court.

I had the privilege of speaking with Mark Phariss, one of the four plaintiffs in DeLeon, in November, who shared these thoughts about the case:

Executing a crazy person? Preposterously one-sided arbitration agreements? A forklift is a motor vehicle? Yes, yes, and yes, said the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals over the course of the year.

The Fifth contains many, um, colorful cases. Ten of those were the most popular of the year, and here they are:

We're living in a golden age of beer. Gone are the days when the question was "Budweiser or Coors?" There are literally thousands of "craft" breweries all over the country these days, responding to what's been more or less a duopoly of the Big Two beer makers. (Coors bought Miller in 2007; together Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors own 65 percent of the U.S. beer market.) Craft beers are made in smaller batches and don't garner nationwide attention, so some people think they're higher quality products.

Not that the Texas legislature cares, which is why craft beer makers are suing the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission over its distribution regulations.

Last week, President Obama announced that he would be taking the initiative to craft immigration policy in the absence of congressional action. All of his actions come under the umbrella of enforcement. The president has no power to rewrite immigration law, but as the head of the executive branch, he can prioritize enforcement.

Republicans decried the move as outside his constitutional powers and threatened to sue. Last week, the Texas Attorney General, joined by 16 other states, sued the United States in the southern district of Texas. So what's their gripe about?

Stay in Miss. Gay Marriage Case; Arg. Consolidated With La., Tex.

A little more than a week after U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves struck down Mississippi's gay marriage ban, the Fifth Circuit propped it back up, albeit possibly temporarily.

Late last week, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay pending appeal to the state of Mississippi, allowing the state to continue to enforce its ban on gay marriage. However, the ban may not last long -- the court also consolidated the appeal with two others out of Louisiana and Texas, setting the oral argument showdown for all three states in early January.