5th Circuit Civil Rights Law News - U.S. Fifth Circuit
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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.

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.

5th Circ. Vacates Injunction That Halted Google Child Porn Inquiry

The free speech interests of Internet users and countervailing states' interests will clash in court, according to the Fifth Circuit. The court overturned a lower district court injunction that stopped Mississippi's AG from investigating whether Google's search platform aided illicit Internet traffic including drugs and child porn.

Although this is not a case the circuit reviewed on the merits, it is at least the second case we've written about that deals with issues of user-freedoms and the public good.

Developer's 1st Amendment Retaliation Suit Goes Nowhere

A developer in Jackson, Mississippi will get no relief from a lower court's ruling that the mayor should not be held liable for alleged Constitutional violations against him. The case is interesting because the owner of the company alleged corruption at the state's capitol and later tried to secure a contract with the city to develop a bank in the city.

Sometimes it's best not to insult the people you'd like to maintain future business with.

Fifth Circuit to Hear TX Voter ID Case En Banc

The Fifth Circuit en banc is hearing the Texas Voter ID case, making the procedural history of the case of Veasey v Abbott even more confusing.

The case revolves around the legal implications that arise if the Texas Legislature should be allowed to implement voter ID laws which may be shown to be intentionally discriminatory, though not facially so. And in a state with consistently low turnout rate, the fate of Veasey could have a palpable effect on the minority voters who appear to be disproportionately affected by the law's strict requirements.

Mentally Disabled Inmate Escapes Death Penalty Under 5th Cir. Ruling

An intellectually disabled man successfully proved that he was intellectually disabled and thus ineligible for execution by the State of Louisiana. It's been a long voyage through the courts, but unless Louisiana would like to take this up to SCOTUS for a second time, it looks like Mr. Brumfield has escaped state administered death.

P2P Networks Don't Have a Reasonable Expectation of Privacy

The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed several criminal counts in a child pornography that centered around reasonable expectation of privacy to a peer-to-peer network.

Although the defendant attempted to defend himself pro se, his "several garbled motions" on sovereign citizen theory were not enough to convince the court that he enjoyed a reasonable expectation of privacy. This case marked the first time the Fifth Circuit confronted the issue of whether or not P2P networks are subject to the usual "reasonable expectation" test.