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The Fourth Circuit just tossed a conviction of a man who photographed himself and a 7-year-old girl having sex, the Associated Press reported.

Now before readers take up pitch-forks and torches, it should be noted that the circuit did nothing more than review whether or not the lower court applied the law correctly.

Women seeking to end their pregnancies in North Carolina won't be forced to undergo a state-mandated ultra sound and scripted description of the fetus after the Supreme Court rejected the state's petition for cert Monday. Under the North Carolina law, doctors were required to conduct an ultrasound, describe the characteristics of the fetus, and recite a script before performing an abortion.

The Fourth Circuit invalidated that law in late December, 2014, finding it to be a violation of a woman's right to an abortion and her physician's free speech rights. The Supreme Court's refusal to hear the case means that Fourth Circuit's opinion stands.

Schools in American have faced many challenges over the years. But at least they no longer have to deal with problems like racial segregation. Or, do they?

This month, the 4th Circuit Court ruled in a split decision that Pitt County Schools in North Carolina are officially desegregated. Although good news for the school district, this comes as a failure for the plaintiffs, who included African-American parents in the community.

Where to Stay, Where to Eat, What to Do in the Fourth

If you're arguing before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals (or just stopping by on your federal circuit tour of the United States), you're going to end up at the Lewis F. Powell Jr. courthouse in downtown Richmond, Virginia.

You might only be there for a day or two, but that doesn't mean you can't avail yourself of the things Richmond has to offer.

2014 at the 4th Cir.: The 10 Most Popular Blog Posts

In 2013, the theme in the Fourth Circuit was guns: concealed carry, criminal penalties for carrying, etc.

This year? It's all about Virginia: a corrupt governor, malicious prosecution, and penile photography by police officers and prosecutors.

For 2014, here are your Top 10 most popular posts from the Fourth Circuit, folks:

Pamela Harris Confirmed; Republican Senator Exasperated

It was barely a few months' time before a nominee was put forward to fill Senior Judge Andre Davis' seat. At the time, we were shocked; considering the number of vacancies nationwide, some of which were many years old, a vacancy being filled this quickly was basically a modern miracle.

Pamela Harris was the nominee. And only a few months later, she is now confirmed. Welcome to the Fourth Circuit, Judge Harris!

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4th Circuit Says Nah, D.C. Circuit. ACA Subsidies For All!

Seriously, when was the last time you saw a circuit split happen in a matter of hours? The law nerd inside of me is quivering right now, I tell you!

The D.C. Circuit read a statute, § 36B, which provides tax credits (subsidies, in essence) to qualifying low-income individuals who purchase plans though an "Exchange established by the State." To them, that text is pretty clear -- state exchanges are eligible for subsidies, while the federal Heathcare.gov exchange is not. It came to the decision "reluctantly," of course, as it notes that if its holding stands, Obamacare will collapse absent legislative intervention. We have more on the D.C. Circuit opinion, and the end of the world as we know it, in our D.C. Circuit coverage.

But wait, there's more: the Fourth Circuit (and a dissenting D.C. Circuit judge) came to a contrary conclusion. How?

Rule Change; Cert. Sought for NC Plates, Denied in Family Dollar

Happy Wednesday. We're still waiting on Bostic.

But that's not all that's happening in the Fourth Circuit. There's been a rule change regarding the number of briefs one must file with the court. (Oooh!) And the North Carolina "Choose Life" license plate dispute is headed to the Supreme Court -- they hope. (Aaahhh!) But Family Dollar, the losers in a class action certification dispute, won't be, after the Supreme Court quietly denied certiorari before heading on summer vacation. (Gasp!)

Read on for the roundup ...

That Was Quick: Pamela Harris Nominated for 4th Cir. Vacancy

Judge Andre Davis took senior status barely two months ago, yet there's already a nominee for his seat, the only vacancy in the Fourth Circuit. Compare that expediency with the nine years it took to fill the seat last time.

Who's the nominee? Meet Georgetown Law visiting professor and former O'Melveny & Myers appellate attorney Pamela Harris. Her nomination for the Maryland-assigned seat was announced late Thursday by the White House and drew immediate praise from local politicians.

Others may not be quite so happy.

Two 4th Circuit Judges Heard Cases Despite Conflicts

Conflicts and recusals. We've given the High Court's justices a hard time over botched recusals, excessive recusals, and even for un-recusals, but what about judges in the lower courts?

Federal judges are required to recuse themselves if they have a conflict of interest, often due to stock ownership in a company that is a party to the case, and they're even granted a tax break if they sell the stock to remove the conflict. Courts have adopted conflict screening systems to make sure mandated recusals actually happen.

Yet sometimes, a case or a stock slips through the cracks. How? And just as important, how many?