9th Circuit Civil Rights Law News - U.S. Ninth Circuit
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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.

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.

The gay juror ruling in Smithkline won't be appealed by AbbVie, an Abbott Laboratories spinoff involved in the case.

A representative for the pharmaceutical company explained Monday that it would not appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, leaving the Ninth Circuit's ruling intact, reports Reuters. So, how will Smithkline impact the Ninth Circuit now?

This week is set to be a busy one for en banc review for the Ninth Circuit.

With the "Innocence of Muslims" YouTube stay and California's concealed carry laws on the line, the 11-judge panel may have a lot on its mind.

If they decide to hear the issues, that is.

What's the lesson here?

Give a mouse a cookie and he'll want a rehearing?
Don't look a gift opinion in the dicta?
Ask and ye shall receive everything but what you ask for?

Crystal Cox was a landmark free press plaintiff. Her case set the precedent in the Ninth Circuit that bloggers, like me and even her attorney, enjoy the same protections as the traditional media. And she escaped a $2.5 million defamation verdict.

The case could've ended on a positive note, with only a passing mention of her alleged extortionist past. But when she requested a rehearing, and deletion of a non-dispositive sentence in the opinion (which cited a New York Times article about Cox), it drew the attention of a few very angry people.

Last month, a Ninth Circuit panel held that the Second Amendment requires the state to allow its citizens to both "keep" and "bear" arms. In plain English, that meant that California had to either allow concealed or open carry in public. Currently, the state leaves it up to local law enforcement agencies' discretion as to whether a person has demonstrated sufficient need for a concealed carry permit. The City and County of San Diego, the defendants in the case, declined to appeal the panel's ruling.

Well concealed carry advocates, you might want to hold off on purchasing that compact pistol with an internal hammer and Triton sights, because California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced late last week that the state is seeking to intervene in the case in order to defend the current "may issue" system.