U.S. Second Circuit - The FindLaw 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

June 2014 Archives

In 2011, the United States engaged in drone strikes in Yemen that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, an al Qaeda leader, and al-Awlaki's son -- both U.S. citizens. The killing was authorized by a Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel memorandum ("OLC Memo"), examining the legality of such an authorized killing -- that is, how U.S. criminal law and Constitutional law applied to the killing of U.S. citizens abroad who are deemed "enemy combatants."

Two writers for The New York Times, along with the ACLU, each submitted Freedom of Information Act requests related to documents that authorized the killing of U.S. citizens by drone strike. The Second Circuit agreed that redacted copies of the memorandum should be released back in April, and the Government later sought rehearing en banc.

Yesterday, after years of waiting, the Second Circuit ordered the release, and released a redacted copy of the memo.

Growing up in the New York area in the 1980's, there were two cases that really made an impact on me, and the nation: Bernard Goetz's vigilante subway shooting, and the case of the Central Park Jogger. Bernard Goetz's enraged shooting was somewhat understandable, though over-reactive, on a visceral level. But the rape and near-fatal beating of a solitary woman jogger just boggled the mind. I can't go running to this day, without giving her a thought.

And while that case took place in 1989, the central park jogger case is still making headlines, as the wrongly convicted five men are now on the verge of reaching a settlement with the City of New York.

Earlier this month, the Second Circuit "tackled the tricky question of how to define originality in architecture," reports Architect Magazine. Though standard copyright theory applies, determining originality in architecture can be difficult for courts.

In finding its own path, the Second Circuit rejected the analysis of the Eleventh Circuit, and decided to go its own way.

Following the financial crisis of 2008, the S.E.C. has initiated many actions against banks and bank officers related to their conduct that led to the economic fallout. One such case was brought against Citigroup, where the S.E.C. alleged that Citigroups's investors suffered loss due to the bank's violation of Sections 17(a)(2) and (3) of the Securities Act of 1933.

When the S.E.C. and Citigroup sought approval of their settlement agreement before district court Judge Rakoff, he denied the consent order, and scheduled a trial date instead.

In April, the Second Circuit ordered the disclosure of a redacted Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel ("OLC") memo that essentially laid out the legal analysis that authorized the killing of U.S. citizens abroad by drone strike.

Last week, the Government submitted a motion seeking leave to file an ex parte and in camera motion for rehearing en banc of the court's April decision. The next day, the Second Circuit issued its ruling. Read on to see what the court decided.