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

9th Circuit April 2014 News

The Ninth Circuit is one of the busiest circuits in the nation, with "over 1,470 pending appeals per panel," which is "two and a half times the average of other circuits," Senator Dianne Feinstein stated in her remarks for the Congressional record. In this context, Dianne Feinstein argued for Michelle Friedland's confirmation to the Ninth Circuit bench.

Despite conservatives' reservations with her previous work supporting gay rights, on Monday, Michelle Friedland was confirmed by a vote of 51-40, with only one Republican, Senator Susan Collins of Maine, crossing party lines, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Some would say this comes almost one-year too late, as President Obama originally nominated Michelle Friedland on August 1, 2013, "but the Senate failed to act," according to Courthouse News Service.

Let's take a look at Michelle Friedland's career so far.

Rabbi S. Binyomin Ginsberg enrolled in Northwest Airlines' frequent flyer program and attained "Platinum Elite" status, the highest level, in 2005. Three years later, Northwest revoked his membership in the frequent flyer program because, according to the airline, he'd abused the program.

Ginsberg sued Northwest in federal court alleging breach of contract, breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing, negligent misrepresentation, and intentional misrepresentation. The district court held that all of the claims, except for breach of contract, were pre-empted by the Airline Deregulation Act ("ADA"), and dismissed the breach of contract claim, without prejudice, for failure to state a claim.

SCOTUS Won't Review AZ Immigrant Harboring Case; Bail Denial Argued

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.

Updates: Friedland Confirmation Delayed, Smithkline Briefs Submitted

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.

Second Challenge to AZ's Medical Abortion Law Filed in State Court

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?

Abortion Stay Extended, Ballot Access Case Set for Argument

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.

(Judge) John Owens Confirmed for 9th Circuit Bench

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:

Arizona's Medical Abortion Drug Restriction Put on Hold

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.