5th Circuit Civil Rights Law News - U.S. Fifth Circuit
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In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court made a curious ruling: it held that a federal ban on animal crush videos was unconstitutional.

Animal crush videos are despicable depictions of torture, dismemberment, and killing of animals, often in a sexually fetishized context. Few would argue that these videos deserve the protections of the First Amendment, but the Supreme Court ruled the way it did because of the text of the statute: an overly broad wording that could've been applied to hunting and husbandry.

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Robert James Campbell was about two and a half hours away from being executed, the first scheduled execution in the United States since a botched execution in Oklahoma led to 43 minutes of apparent agony for a now-deceased inmate.

Now, thanks to recently discovered IQ tests that Texas officials failed to turn over to the defense years ago, and some equitable tolling, the allegedly mentally impaired inmate, whose IQ was recently determined to be 69, will get a shot at habeas relief.

This was a pretty clear case where the Fifth Circuit screwed up.

A promising young baseball player is shot by police officers. He says that there was no reason for the excessive force and that he was on his knees at the time of the shooting. The officers testified that he was crouching, getting ready to attack, and that the three shots fired, one of which punctured a lung and ended his athletic endeavors, was far from excessive.

The Fifth Circuit? They sided with the police officers, and affirmed the summary judgment grant, citing qualified immunity, despite there being significant issues of fact to sort through.

It was a clear mistake, one the Supreme Court corrected, despite reservations expressed by Justices Alito and Scalia.

Texas' most recent abortion regulations, found in H.B. 2, were upheld by the Fifth Circuit on Thursday.

Finding that the district court both misapplied standards and misconstrued evidence, the Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas v. Abbott Court found that both the medical abortion and "admitting privileges" regulations were constitutional and not an undue burden to women. This ruling threatens the Fifth Circuit's other pending abortion case in Mississippi, which is scheduled for hearing in April.

How did the court come to support these abortion regulations?

Another admitting privileges case is making its way to the Fifth Circuit, this time from a Mississippi abortion law.

On Monday, the Fifth Circuit notified the parties that it would hear oral arguments on April 28 from both the state of Mississippi and the Jackson Women's Health Organization as to whether the Mississippi "admitting privileges" requirement should apply to the clinic.

This case should remind you of the recently passed Texas law, and it may not be coincidence that neither case has been resolved yet.

In a strange twist of fate, Texas' attorney general is continuing to fight for Texas' gay marriage ban in De Leon v. Perry -- despite the fact his law school friend is one of the plaintiffs.

Attorney General Greg Abbott now has to square the reality that he is choosing to defend Texas' gay marriage ban while his long-time friend Mark Phariss fights for he and his partner to be legally wed, reports The Associated Press.

Attorneys general are facing crises of conscience, or at least constitutionality, across the U.S. over this issue, but will Abbott fight to deny Phariss the right to marry?

A Texas federal court ruled that the state's gay marriage ban was unconstitutional on Wednesday, but the ruling is stayed pending appeal.

U.S. District Court Judge Orlando Garcia found in De Leon v. Perry that Texas' laws prohibiting two Texas same-sex couples from marrying (and having their marriages recognized) was in violation of both the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses.

While we wait on the Fifth Circuit to respond, what's worth knowing in this decision?

Two Texas same-sex couples may potentially make history by challenging the state's ban on gay marriage in federal court on Wednesday.

U.S. District Court Judge Orlando L. Garcia of Texas' Western District will hear oral arguments from both state officials and the lawyers representing the plaintiffs over granting a preliminary injunction to block Texas' enforcement of its gay marriage ban.

What can we expect from this federal challenge to Texas' same-sex marriage ban?

Parents in Louisiana's Sabine Parish are embroiled in a legal battle with the school district after their children were harassed for not being Christian.

The ACLU sued on Scott and Sharon Lane's behalf after three of their children were allegedly bullied for their differing religious beliefs. The complaint filed in late January included examples of one of the younger Lane's science tests, complete with fill in the blank questions like "Isn't it amazing what the [blank] has made." The correct answer was "Lord."

Can this suit make a dent in the policies of a Bible Belt school?

A prisoner in a sex offender program in Texas has no right to his hot rod magazines, despite the prison's limiting policies on mail.

Shawn Stauffer, an inmate in Texas' Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP), had his 1983 claims smacked down by the Fifth Circuit on Friday seeking both a million dollars in monetary damages and injunctive relief.

So why did the court uphold the state's policies and deny Stauffer his car magazines?