U.S. Ninth Circuit: September 2011 News
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9th Circuit September 2011 News

By the Numbers: Supreme Court Reversal and the Ninth Circuit

The Supreme Court granted writs of certiorari in eight new cases this week; five of those cases matriculated from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. As usual, the Supreme Court is facing a year flavored by opinions from the country's largest circuit.

The Ninth Circuit is commonly regarded as the most liberal of the circuit courts of appeal, but does that mean that it's wrong? If Supreme Court reversal is the standard by which we measure right and wrong, then it is.

Ninth Cir: Log Cabin Republicans' Claim Moot After DADT Repeal

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has come out … against further DADT arguments.

In a per curiam opinion, the Ninth Circuit announced today that the Log Cabin Republicans’ seven-year-old challenge to the Bill Clinton-era Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) policy was moot now that the policy has been repealed.

In determining whether a case has become moot on appeal, an appellate court “review[s] the judgment below in light of the … statute as it now stands, not as it … did” before the district court. Here, the suit became moot when the repeal of the DADT statute, 10 U.S.C. 654, took effect on September 20.

Apple Bests Psystar in Copyright Lawsuit Over Mac Clones

In our imagination, "All I Do is Win" plays on a loop in Apple's corporate headquarters. And why shouldn't Apple brag about its success?

Consumers whip themselves into a frenzy every time the company releases a new gadget. Last year, Apple usurped Microsoft's tech-king throne. In August, Apple unseated Exxon as the most profitable company in the world.

Apple's latest win, however, came in court, not the marketplace. Today, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled for Apple a copyright lawsuit against Mac-cloner Psystar.

Judge Pamela Rymer Dead at 70

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Pamela Rymer passed last week after a two-year battle with cancer. Judge Rymer was 70.

President Ronald Reagan appointed Judge Rumer to the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles in 1983. Six years later, President George H.W. Bush nominated her to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

During her 22 years on the appellate court, Judge Rymer sat on more than 800 merits panels and authored 335 panel opinions. She last heard oral arguments in July and her most recent opinion was filed in August.

Plaintiff Loses in Religious Discrimination FHA Claim

In a case of biting that hand that fed her, a woman sued a free, drug-addiction recovery program under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), saying that the organization forced her to participate in religious services. In an opinion released on Monday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the claim failed as a matter of law.

The Boise Rescue Mission (BRM), originally incorporated as Christ's Gospel Mission, Inc., operates an "intensive, Christ-based residential recovery program for people with chemical dependency or alcoholism."

Obama Nominates Jacqueline Nguyen to Ninth Circuit

President Obama nominated Judge Jacqueline Nguyen to serve on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals this week. Nguyen has served as a U.S. District Judge in the Central District of California in Los Angeles since 2009. She was a Los Angeles Superior Court judge before migrating to the federal bench.

Originally from Dalat, Vietnam, Judge Nguyen received her AB from Occidental College in 1987, and her JD from UCLA School of Law in 1991.

Nguyen has legal experience in both the private and public sectors, working as a litigation associate at Musick, Peeler & Garrett LLP before joining the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Central District of California as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the criminal division.

Ninth Circuit Endorses Calendar Lies in the Interest of Justice

Rent lied to us.

All the singing and dancing about five-hundred-twenty-five-thousand-six-hundred-minutes? Nonsense.

In a case to file under "lies-the-justice-system-perpetuates," the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that the only way to measure a year for immigration removal procedures is with the inaccurate 365-day calendar.

So how many days are really in a year?

Court Upholds Day Laborers First Amendment Right to Solicit Work

Day laborers have a First Amendment right to solicit work along a California roadside.

That’s the word out of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled on Friday in Comite de Jornaleros v. City of Redondo Beach that a Redondo Beach ordinance banning workers from standing on a street or highway to solicit work was a facially unconstitutional restriction on speech.

Redondo Beach initially adopted the controversial ordinance, which prohibited workers from soliciting employment from occupants of motor vehicles, in 1987. In 1989, the city added a subsection to the ordinance that prohibited motor vehicles from hiring or attempting to hire workers on the city’s streets and highways.

Children Sue Judicial Council, Claim Denial of Effective Counsel

Four California foster kids sued California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye in her capacity as Chair of the California Judicial Council alleging that “crushing and unlawful caseloads” frustrate the ability of Sacramento Dependency Courts to fairly and adequately hear their cases, and prevent court-appointed counsel from providing effective assistance.

Their suit seeks a Dependency Court for Sacramento’s abused and neglected children that meets basic due process requirements, and provides adequate, competent, effective counsel for the children of Sacramento County in dependency proceedings.

Bradley Johnson Banner Order Does Not Violate First Amendment

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that a public school district did not infringe on a math teacher’s First Amendment free speech liberties by ordering him “not to use his public position as a pulpit from which to preach his own views on the role of God in our Nation’s history to the captive students in his mathematics classroom.”

That little zinger was in the first line of the opinion. Want to guess how strongly the Ninth Circuit felt about this case?

Bradley Johnson, a math teacher with more than 30 years of experience, decorated his classroom with two, seven-foot banners the Poway Unified School District deemed “questionable.”

Know When to Fold? Atlanta False Affidavit Warrants Nevada Venue

What happens en route to Vegas, can establish jurisdiction in Vegas, according to a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision this week.

Federal law enforcement officers seized $97,000 from professional gamblers Gina Fiore and Keith Gipson while they changed planes in the Atlanta airport on their way home to Las Vegas. The pair explained that the funds were legal gambling proceeds, not evidence of drug transactions. Their story turned out to be true.

Ninth Cir: Benefit Denial Discriminates Against Gay Couples

This week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an Arizona law limiting benefits for same-sex domestic partners violates the Equal Protection Clause. The law, passed in 2009, eliminated health insurance coverage for same-sex partners of state employees.

Arizona initially extended healthcare benefits to opposite-sex and same-sex domestic partners of state employees in 2008. Later that year, Arizona voters approved the Marriage Protection Amendment, which amended the Arizona Constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman.

In, 2009, Governor Jan Brewer signed House Bill 2013, which included a "Section O" statutory provision, redefining "dependants" as "spouses," and thus eliminating coverage for domestic partners.

Use of Deadly Force Justified in Rapper's Fatal Shooting

A rap career can lead to a hard knock life; just look aspiring California rapper Almighty Aziz, the victim of a fatal shooting by Santa Clara Police.

Almighty Aziz, (given name: Aziz James), flipped out at a party in 2008 and stabbed several fellow revelers before crashing through a window into a stranger's house and holing up inside.

Last week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that, in light of the circumstances, police were justified in the use of deadly force against James after he stabbed a canine officer and leaned toward the remaining officers with a knife. The court ruled that James's actions instantly escalated the situation into a potentially deadly encounter.

Santa Clara University Law School Celebrates Centennial with 9th Circuit

First, it was the University of Montana School of Law; now it's Santa Clara University Law School's turn.

Santa Clara University Law School is turning 100 and celebrating in style with judges from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Unlike last week's Ninth Circuit hearings in Montana that featured retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor sitting by designation, the Santa Clara Ninth Circuit connect will be a bit more theatrical.

Too Fast and Furious? U.S. Attorney Gone, ATF Director Reassigned

Two of the government masterminds behind Operation Fast and Furious have been pushed out of their jobs amid continuing outcry over the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) illegal gun trafficking scheme.

Acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson has been reassigned, as of August 30, as a senior adviser on forensic science in the Department of Justice’s office of Legal Programs. U.S. Attorney for Arizona Dennis Burke resigned from his post the same day. A Phoenix Assistant U.S. Attorney involved in the operation was reassigned from the criminal division to the civil division, according Fox News.