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Alaska Polar Bears Win in 9th Circuit Ruling

The Ninth Circuit just overturned a lower district court decision that favored Big Oil, thereby strengthening protections of critical Alaskan polar bear habitat.

The decision restores approximately 187,000 square miles of land-sea to protection under the Endangered Species Act and re-designates the area as "critical habitat" for polar bears.

The Ninth Circuit has decline to reconsider, either in panel or en banc, environmentalists' challenge to Shell's arctic drilling plans. When government regulators approved Shell's spill response plan -- the plan meant to keep a drilling accident from becoming the next Exxon Valdez or Gulf oil spill -- they did so without formal environmental review under the Endangered Species Act or National Environmental Policy Act.

That led environmental groups to sue, a suit they lost in June and which the Ninth has now refused to rehear. That refusal, however, garnered a strong dissent from three circuit judges who argued that the court had undermined the strength of the environmental laws and created an incentive for agencies to abandon their role as overseers.

9th Cir Revives Section 8 Class Action, Calls for New Judge

For all the emotions it evokes -- both pro and con -- Section 8 is sometimes the only avenue by which the impoverished can get affordable housing in a region. For most recipients, any change in a government subsidy is a matter of daily livelihood and may result in homelessness.

A Section 8 subsidy is a property right. As such, the Ninth Circuit reversed a lower court decision in favor of defendants who had administered a local voucher program and instead entered judgment for plaintiffs, who argued they weren't given proper notice before their subsidies were reduced.

Well that didn't take long. Just over two weeks after hearing oral arguments over a controversial Reno highway expansion, the Ninth Circuit has refused to halt the project. Community groups had opposed the controversial SouthEast Connector, seeking an emergency injunction to halt the project and arguing that it had been approved without sufficient environmental review.

The Ninth, it seems, didn't even have to think twice about it. The court quickly rejected the group's appeal, in a three paragraph opinion which found no indication that the lower court had abused its discretion when it allowed construction to go forward.

Big Lagoon Rancheria, an Indian tribe near Humboldt County, CA, won a major victory in a recent Ninth Circuit decision. Following the decision, the tribe may finally be able to go forward with its plans to build a new Indian casino and hotel.

The lawsuit involved a few acres of land near Humboldt County. In 1994, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) gave this land in trust to Big Lagoon Rancheria, a small but federally recognized tribe.

If you saw "The Monuments Men," released earlier this year, then you know that Allied Forces discovered large collections of Nazi-looted art during World War II. Far from being an historical account, the repercussions of the Nazi's looting and forced sale of valuable pieces of art is still an issue that generations of families are dealing with.

In the latest case of an heir's attempt to receive what is rightfully hers, the Ninth Circuit has revived a sensitive controversy that is far from over, reports The Times of Israel.

On Monday, the Supreme Court released its order list, and while it only granted certiorari in two cases, it denied cert. in a slew of them. One of the cases that it denied had already been before the Supreme Court, was remanded, and the parties field for cert. -- again.

This time around, the Supreme Court said no, and let stand a Ninth Circuit opinion that found Los Angeles County in violation of pollution levels allowed under permit. Read on for details.

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?

9th Reversed: Highway or Not, Government Controls Military Bases

And so, another odd legal dispute comes to a ... well, it's still going, thanks to the First Amendment. But we at least know this: the government controls military bases, even if there is a public highway passing through.

The case, with its odd plaintiff (a man who sprayed his own blood on a military sign, and who has been arrested seventeen times for protesting on the base, with three convictions), will be returned to the lower courts in order to hear the First Amendment implications of barring certain protestors from designated protest areas.

California's Only Oyster Cannery Denied Relief; May Face Closure

There is only one place in the Golden State than harvests oysters, and soon, there may be none. Shucks.

Kevin Lunny and his family purchased the state's only oyster farm, then known as Johnson's, and renamed it Drakes Bay in 2005. At the time of the purchase, they knew about the possibility of the lease of federal land expiring seven years later.

Time's up, and that notice of possible closure was a major part of the majority's holding in denying a preliminary injunction.