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


When we last left the City of San Jose in its ongoing battle with the behemoth known as Major League Baseball, it was trying to fast-track an antitrust lawsuit against MLB to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Well, the Ninth Circuit has decided, and with Judge Alex Kozinski at the bat, San Jose -- like Mighty Casey -- has struck out.

After losing in front of a Ninth Circuit panel, the States of Idaho and Nevada petitioned the full court for an en banc rehearing in Latta v. Otter. A majority of non-recused active judges didn't vote for en banc hearing.

But that doesn't mean some of them aren't upset! Judges Diarmuid O'Scannlain, Carlos Bea, and Johnnie Rawlinson filed a 24-page dissental arguing that "the same-sex marriage debate is not over" because the Sixth Circuit -- alone among the other circuits to decide the issue -- upheld laws prohibiting same-sex marriage.

For being "America's Toughest Sheriff," a name he invented for himself, Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, gets shot down. A lot.

He has the added disadvantage of Arizona's statutes, which try to butt into space occupied by federal law every chance they can get. Once again, a federal court will teach Arizona a lesson in pre-emption.

Hot on the heels (at least in terms of court timelines) of winning a deceptive trade practices suit at the U.S. Supreme Court, POM Wonderful, fabled maker of pomegranate juice, won another suit at the Ninth Circuit. This time, POM Wonderful claimed that a rival company was improperly using its trademark, which might cause confusion.

On balance, said the court, a reasonable consumer could mistake a competitor's product for POM Wonderful's.

Injunction Violated: Sea Pirate Hippies Aid Foreign Cousins

It's the oldest trick in the book. Your parents tell you not to do something, so you have your brother do it for you.

That's the gist of what happened here. Last year, we brought the tale of the sea pirate hippy bench-slapping, a master class in insulting multiple parties in a single judicial opinion by none other than the great Judge Alex Kozinski. The Kozinski-helmed majority issued an injunction ordering the Sea Shepard Conservation Society to stay away from certain (alleged whaling) ships.

Sea Shepard kinda-sorta complied: They gave their ships and equipment to foreign branches of their organization, which, of course, engaged in activities that would have violated the injunction had Sea Shepard USA done them itself.

Looking Back at 2014: The 10 Most Popular Posts From the 9th Cir.

I love the Ninth Circuit. In 2014, there was not a more interesting or unpredictable docket on the planet. The Ninth Circuit dealt with many hot-button issues such as concealed carry, free speech on YouTube, and the Hobby Lobby fallout.

What did you find most interesting? Our 10 most popular posts covered all of the above topics, plus judicial gossip, nominations, and more:

Free Speech Rights Won't Protect Porn Producers From Condom Law

In 2012, Los Angeles voters passed an initiative requiring adult film performers to wear condoms while filming. This, predictably, drew the ire of porn studios, producers, and stars, all of whom had adhered to a biweekly STD testing protocol to address concerns about the health risks of unprotected sex.

The artists' and studios' main argument was a creative one: a First Amendment free speech right to have condom-free sex on camera. This argument failed at the district court level and again yesterday, with the Ninth Circuit holding that any incidental effects on expression were outweighed by the evils the law was meant to address -- sexually transmitted disease transmission.

After he appeared suspicious at a border checkpoint in California, border patrol agents searched Chad Camou's car, in which they found Alejandro Martinez-Ramirez, an undocumented immigrant. But this case isn't even about Martinez-Ramirez.

Nope. It's about child pornography.

The border patrol agents took Camou's cell phone, then started rifling through it an hour and 20 minutes after his arrest. The agent was looking for evidence of smuggling, but found child pornography instead.

On December 8, the Ninth Circuit heard oral arguments in the case Smith v. Obama, in which a nurse from Idaho, Anna Smith, challenged the NSA's warrantless collection of phone metadata as a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

Yes, there was talk about Smith v. Maryland. Yes, there was talk about the Fourth Amendment. Actually, though, we've seen this movie before. If you can even get to the merits, it's likely a violation and probably distinct from Smith v. Maryland, which was a short-term, targeted investigation. What's more important to this case is whether Anna Smith even has standing to bring the case.

Calif. Concealed Carry Case Gets Sua Sponte En Banc Call

The parties to the case didn't want en banc review. Other non-parties (California Attorney General Kamala Harris and the Brady Campaign) wanted en banc but were denied leave to intervene, because they were non-parties who waited years to jump on board to the case when they could've been part of the case all along.

But not to worry, firearm fearers: En banc is still a strong possibility. Despite nobody with a stake in the case calling for it, at least one of the circuit's many judges called for en banc review sua sponte (H/T to The Volokh Conspiracy.)