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Coffee Barista's Don't Interact With Customers Enough for Tip Pooling

The Fifth Circuit reversed and remanded a decision by a Texas federal district court in a case that involved barista tips, Montano v. Montrose Restaurant Assoc.

The legal issue at bar was whether or not "coffeemen" (aka baristas) are lawfully entitled to a percentage customer tips under a restaurant's tip pooling arrangement. It turns out that it has little to with what you call them; it has more to do with the nature of their work.

Race Abuse by Students Not Within Title VI's Scope, 5th Cir. Rules

What's a school's liability for discrimination suffered by its students at the hands of other students? This was the broad legal question posed by the Fennell family in Kyana Fennell v. Marion Independent School District.

The Fifth Circuit dismiss the complaint against a Marion Independent School District (MISD) and several of its employees. The circuit court found that school officials were not "deliberately indifferent" to racist student behaviors.

When Mark Phariss and Vic Holmes tried to get married two years ago, they were told, "We don't do that in Texas." The couple sued, along with Nicole Dimetman and Cleo DeLeon, arguing that their relationship deserved equal legal rights and respect. They won in district court and, following the Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges, in the Fifth Circuit.

Now, they do do that in Texas. And Phariss and Holmes will get the chance to do it as well, as the couple will finally get their marriage license this Friday in San Antonio, Texas.

3D printers promise to allow anyone to create complex objects at home. For a few hundred dollars, you can pick up a consumer-grade 3D printer and start printing out toys, architectural models, or firearms. Yep, it's pretty easy for anyone with a 3D printer to print out a gun in their living room -- guns that are powerful, unregulated, and even undetectable.

Aware of the risks posed by widespread hobbyist arms manufacturing, the State Department has ordered gun and tech enthusiasts to stop disturbing plans for 3D-printed guns online. One of those enthusiasts, gun activist and founder of Defense Distributed, Cody Wilson is challenging that order and should see his case in the Fifth Circuit soon.

Texas's voter ID law has a "discriminatory effect" in violation of the Voting Rights Act, the Fifth Circuit ruled today. The law required voters to produce specific types of photo identification in order to vote. Concealed gun licenses were allowed; student IDs were not.

Opponents of the law argued that it would have little effect on preventing voter fraud while resulting in the disenfranchisement of Hispanic and African American voters. The Fifth Circuit agreed, in part, but refused to invalidate the law outright. The decision comes one day before the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act.

Employers who opt out of providing health insurance coverage for contraceptives don't have their religious exercise burdened by those opt out procedures, the Fifth Circuit ruled on Monday. The Circuit joined the Seventh, Sixth, Third, and D.C. Circuits in rejecting a challenge to Obamacare's contraception mandate by religious nonprofit organizations.

Under Obamacare, religious nonprofits can opt out of directly providing contraception to their employees. To do so, they need simply fill out a short form and send to the Department of Health and Human Services for certification. Third parties then provide contraception access. 

Religious groups have said that simply filing out the form "triggers" their participation in contraception and burdens their religious freedom. The Fifth rejected that argument yesterday, as had all other circuit courts who've addressed it.

The Fifth Circuit has upheld key and controversial restrictions to a Texas abortion law today. The strict abortion law requires that abortion providers have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and that facilities meet standards for surgical centers. When passed, the law made headlines for its restrictions and the 13-hour filibuster former state Senator Wendy Davis held against it.

The Texas law imposes some of the most burdensome requirements on abortion providers in the nation and the ruling upholding it will likely force most abortion clinics in the nation's second most populous state to close.

The principle of "one person, one vote" seems abundantly straightforward in principle. In application, this principle seems to elicit never-ending conflict. In Evenwel v. Abbott, the Supreme Court will have another say in the matter.

The desire for a vote to be heard is presumably driven by a desire for fairness. That's the underlying basis of the appellant's argument: the current voting arraignment for state Senate districts in Texas in not fair.

Louisiana cannot revoke sentence-shortening "good-time credits" earned by prisoners based on legal changes that occurred after a prisoner's initial sentencing, the Fifth Circuit ruled this week.

The court granted habeas relief for Richard Price, who was sentenced for armed robbery in Louisiana in 1985, and lost all of his good-time credit after he violated parole conditions. That was an unconstitutional ex post facto application of the law, the Fifth held.

Bivens Not Available for Immigration Proceedings: 5th Cir.

A claim under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics is essentially a Supreme Court-created version of 42 USC 1983, a statute conferring a cause of action for state officials' violations of a plaintiff's civil rights.

Plaintiffs can get money damages under Bivens, as they can under 42 USC 1983, but can undocumented immigrants get damages for Fourth Amendment violations allegedly committed by border patrol agents?