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

February 2017 Archives

Injunction of TX Illegal Immigrant Harboring Law Overturned

It was as close to a win-win decision as they get, especially considering that both sides lost.

The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed an injunction landlords had obtained against enforcement of an anti-harboring statute, then dismissed their case and said they were not subject to prosecution under the law. Because the plaintiffs lacked standing, the court could have side-stepped the harboring issue. But instead, the court laid down the law.

"Because there is no reasonable interpretation by which merely renting housing or providing social services to an illegal alien constitutes 'harboring ... that person from detection,' we reverse the injunction and render a judgment of dismissal for want of jurisdiction," the court said.

The First Amendment includes the right to videotape police officers, subject only to reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions, the Fifth Circuit ruled last Thursday.

The ruling comes after Fort Worth, Texas police officers detained a man for filming their police station from the sidewalk. And it's not terribly shocking. Every circuit court to address the issue has ruled similarly. Nonetheless, the court ruled, that right to film wasn't clearly established at the time of the detention, meaning that the detained man couldn't pursue his civil rights suit against the officers on First Amendment grounds.

Delta Can Continue Flying to Love Field

A federal appeals court got a taste of air traffic control in ruling that Delta Airlines may continue to fly out of a Dallas airport.

The City of Dallas, which owns the airport, had thrown its hands up in the air over a controversy between Delta and Southwest Airlines. The airlines were fighting about which company had the right to use certain gates, so the city asked the court to decide.

The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals put a patch on the problem -- changing out one preliminary injunction for another -- and sent the matter back to a trial judge to figure out the logjam. Acknowledging the complexity of the case, the dissent said, it was going back on a wing and a prayer.

"I hope and trust that on remand, the district court will review the issues closely and assimilate all the relevant evidence before issuing its final judgment," Judge Edith Jones said.