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Less than a year after approving a transgender female's petition to change the gender listed in legal documents to "non-binary," an Oregon judge has signed off on another resident's request to change their gender to "agender."

"I don't consider myself non-binary because that's an umbrella term for anything that isn't binary, which is gender identity," Patch, nee Patrick Abbatiello, told the Associated Press. "I never felt like I fell within any part of the gender spectrum. None of the binary options, nothing in-between."

It's not easy for a private citizen to sue a federal employee for a civil rights violation. If there's no statute to allow the lawsuit, then historically you couldn't bring your case. That's where the so-called Bivens claim becomes important.

A Bivens claim is a special type of 'implied cause of action' that was created by the Supreme Court, in the Bivens case, to allow private individuals to sue federal employees for constitutional violations when no statute has authorized such. Bivens claims are also sometimes referred to as constitutional torts.

Normally, when a person suffers a violation of their constitutional or civil rights, particularly in the context of police, prison, immigration enforcement, officer misconduct, there are usually legal remedies. However, when these types of constitutional violation stem from the actions of a federal agent, appointee, officer, or employee, victims often find that many of the typical remedies will not be available.

Unfortunately, on occasion, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) just gets it wrong. Sometimes they deport US citizens and others that shouldn't be deported. This tends to occur as a result of overburdened immigration court judges and court staff, in combination with ICE's documentation failures, and the lack of attorney representation for defendants.

Fortunately, when an individual is wrongfully deported, they can eventually be readmitted, though it usually takes some work, even for citizens, to prove the deportation was wrongful. Additionally, a person who has been wrongfully deported may have a civil rights claim against the government as a result of the deportation.

Recently, reports have been popping up that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers have been making arrests inside state courthouses in California, Arizona, Colorado, and Texas. Although ICE claims that courthouse arrests are a last resort, the increased frequency with which they have been made recently belies this position. While there are rather compelling public policy reasons why this shouldn't be happening, it is, and state court judges unfortunately cannot do much about it.

While judges have more control over what happens inside their actual courtroom, the courthouse, meaning the lobby, hallways, cafeteria, entryway, and other public parts of a courthouse, are fair game for ICE officers to make arrests. In response to the increased efforts, Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, the honorable Tani Cantil-Sakauye, sent a letter to the recently appointed US Attorney General Jeff Sessions requesting that ICE not use the state's courthouses as bait to enforce immigration laws, as it impacts public safety and the administration of justice. As of yet, there has been no official response from the AG.

A new law passed in South Dakota last week has been drawing quite a bit of controversy among civil rights groups. Under the guise of protecting civil rights, the law actually protects private, religious adoption agencies from liability for discrimination if they refuse to adopt to LGBT individuals and couples, or potentially even parents that don't share the agency's, or even each other's, beliefs.

The subject of whether or not private religious organizations should be permitted to discriminate based upon genuinely held beliefs is a hot button topic as the religious organizations assert that denying them the right to discriminate is in itself discrimination. While this conundrum can tease even the most analytical brains, there's more to the controversy over this new South Dakota law.

Although it may seem like a daunting task to organize a protest, it really only involves a few steps to ensure you stay on the right side of the law. However, those few steps can vary in complexity depending on the anticipated size and activities of the protest, as well as where you plan to hold it.

At the outset, after you have been inspired to take action, you need to do some research into the legal requirements in your city, county, and state to make sure your protesters don't end up as inmates. Also, you need to look at your own legal exposure, both criminally and civilly.

When President Trump released his first executive order on immigration and refugees from Muslim-majority countries, we noted the "response -- from protestors and civil rights attorneys -- was immediate." That immediate response included a stay from federal judges and, ultimately, an enforcement ban from the Ninth Circuit.

Trump has dropped his appeal to that ban and issued a revised executive order on the issue, and the response to the new travel ban has been pretty much the same as to the old travel ban. Four states have sued to block the new executive order from going into effect, but will they have the same success as last time?

It feels like there are four letters that find their way into any news report about a political scandal. F-O-I-A. Even something as silly as the contested crowd sizes for Obama and Trump's inaugurations was stoked by a FOIA request.

The Freedom of Information Act gives citizens the right to request information and records kept by federal government agencies. So how do FOIA requests work? And who can request what kind of information?

For White House staffers and even high level officials, there are strict ethical standards that are supposed to be followed. In fact, some of those ethical standards are codified in criminal laws. Among the most well known type of ethics crime occurs when an official accepts a bribe.

Generally, the ethics rules seek to prevent government officials and employees from making decisions that they have a personal or financial stake in. This breaks out into two topics: conflicts of interest and personal financial interests. Not surprisingly though, the rules do contain enough leeway, and the executive branch is vested with enough power, that even clear conflicts can sometimes fly under the radar. Additionally, using a public office to garner publicity for private industry, such as by making an endorsement, even if no money is exchanged, is prohibited.

The First Amendment explicitly states that the government cannot pass any law infringing on the right to free speech, nor the right to assemble. As such, when state and local governments pass laws imposing restrictions on protests and protesters, these laws must be narrowly tailored so as to not violate the First Amendment's protections.

Typically, restrictions categorize protests based on how a protest gets started. Nevertheless, only certain types of conduct, typically involving the time, manner, and location of the protests, can be restricted or regulated. In response to the rising civil discontent and increase in protest activity nationwide, many states are trying to increase their ability to control protests, leaving many people wondering whether these new proposed laws are even constitutional.