U.S. Ninth Circuit - The FindLaw 9th Circuit News and Information Blog

U.S. Ninth Circuit - The FindLaw 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Arizona: the proving ground for state immigration and abortion laws.

We've seen a lot of movement on Arizona abortion cases lately, and on Monday, the Supreme Court declined to intervene in an ongoing challenge to the state's illegal immigrant harboring statute, which means the injunction, which currently blocks enforcement of the state law, will remain in place during the litigation.

An en banc challenge to a related law, which prohibits bail for illegal immigrants, was recently argued before the court and is awaiting a decision.

The parties to the case didn't request an en banc rehearing, but at least one judge did.

Smithkline Beecham was a landmark case for gay rights in the Ninth Circuit, even though the case started as a civil suit over HIV drug pricing. A juror was stricken after mentioning his partner during voir dire, presumably on the basis of his sexual orientation.

In January, the Ninth Circuit reversed local precedent and held the heightened scrutiny applied to same-sex discrimination (and by extension, Batson protections apply). It was a huge holding that has major implications for the ongoing Nevada same-sex marriage litigation appeal. The holding may not stand, however, if en banc review leads to a reversal.

The Back-Up Plan. A terrible movie, but not a bad legal strategy.

Though challengers to Arizona's HB 2036, a law that, in part, restricts providers' abilities to provide medical (drug-based) abortions according to accepted medical practice rather than a more restrictive FDA protocol set forth before experience dictated different treatment regimens, already have a credible argument making its way through the Ninth Circuit, they haven't limited themselves to federal courts and constitutional questions.

A parallel suit, filed in state court earlier this week, raises interesting issues of federalism and administrative procedure.

It's always advisable to have a backup plan, right?

It's been a busy couple of days in the Ninth Circuit, especially for hot button issues that are currently on appeal, like Arizona's latest anti-abortion law and another ballot access battle related to petition circulators.

The Ninth Circuit just extended the stay in the Arizona case, putting a hold on the state's restriction on medical (drug-based) abortions, while it set an argument date for another ballot access case, this time addressing an issue of standing to challenge Alaska's ban on out-of-state circulators. Standing may be the only issue left, however, as the Ninth Circuit has repeatedly struck down restrictions on out-of-district and out-of-state circulators.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Judge John Owens.

We've followed Owens' nomination since August, when President Barack Obama nominated him along with a fellow Munger, Tolles & Olson partner and fellow Stanford alum, Michelle T. Friedland, to the bench. While Friedland's nomination is still pending, Owens was confirmed earlier this week, much to the chagrin of Idaho's Republican senators.

What should you know about Owens? And why was his nomination semi-controversial? Read on:

RU-486. Expect this to be the "next big thing" in abortion-related litigation.

We've already seen restrictions on the drug, and on medical (drug-based, as opposed to surgical) abortions nearly reach the Supreme Court, before the case was dismissed as improvidently granted after a state court nixed Oklahoma's RU-486 law, then clarified its reasoning.

A similar battle is being fought in Arizona, where the state passed HR 2036, a law that requires providers to abide by the FDA's strict protocol for delivering the drug, including the notable requirement of having a doctor present, requiring two visits to the clinic, and limiting the time for treatment to seven weeks.

A district court denied Planned Parenthood and Tucson Women's Center's request for an injunction against the law on Monday, but this morning, the Ninth Circuit stepped in and blocked the law, which was set to take effect today.

This was a curious case. San Francisco passed a pair of laws, one regulating storage of firearms in one's home, one banning the sale of hollow-point ammunition in the city. Note the narrowness of the laws, with the safe storage requirement (in a safe, or with a trigger lock) applying only when the gun isn't on one's person, and the ammo restriction applying to the sale, but not possession or use.

Because of the mildness of the restrictions, the Ninth Circuit upheld the laws, applying a vague form of "intermediate scrutiny," the application of which has been questioned by many.

This is one of those decisions that gives you warm and fuzzy feelings about hope for the quietest voices of our legal system.

Kennard Lee Davis is a pro se inmate with schizoaffective disorder. Needless to say, assisting in his representation, or hearing his claims, isn't easy. And he seems to have at least a handful of claims, as he now alleges that he was punished for filing prisoners' rights litigation against the State of California.

His two current claims passed the 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a) screening, so the complaints at least assert cognizable claims.

This is a disappointing, yet utterly unsurprising result, after a years-long appeals process that was put on hold pending last year's equally unfortunate Maryland v. King decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Last year, the High Court held that Maryland's practice of collecting DNA from felons was pretty much no big deal, akin to fingerprinting as a means of identification. Haskell v. Harris is a similar case, challenging a somewhat similar law in California.

So yes, after a pro-California ruling by a panel, some indication that the en banc court was leaning the other way, and the Supreme Court bombshell, California's law stands, and the injunction that would've stopped all DNA collection has been denied.

Alaska filed suit against the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) for squashing plans to seismically search for oil and gas in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

In a complaint filed Friday in federal district court in Alaska, the Land of the Midnight Sun charged the DOI (and Sally Jewell in her official capacity as Secretary of the Interior) with improperly rejecting an oil and natural gas investigation plan in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), reports the Courthouse News Service.

What are Alaska's arguments and can the feds deny its plans?