2nd Circuit Civil Rights Law News - U.S. Second Circuit
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A male Columbia University student can go forward with his lawsuit accusing the college of gender bias in its sexual assault investigations, the Second Circuit ruled last Friday. "John Doe" alleges that the university demonstrated "sex bias in disciplining him for an alleged sexual assault," in violation of Title IX.

Doe had been disciplined and suspended for a year and a half, for coercing a female student to sleep with him, according to the court. He sued, claiming that Columbia's investigation was biased against him because he was a man. A federal district court initially rejected those claims, but the Second Circuit breathed new life into them last week, finding that Doe had alleged sufficient bias to survive a rule 12(b)(6) motion, even if his allegations are not the most plausible explanation for the university's behavior.

Microsoft Doesn't Have to Turn Over Emails on Foreign Servers

The U.S. government cannot not legally compel Microsoft to hand over customer emails stored in Irish servers under the Stored Communications Act, the Second Circuit ruled yesterday. It's a major win for both tech and for privacy advocates.

It is believed that Microsoft is the first company to challenge a domestic search warrant over data held in another country, according to Reuters.

A lawsuit over the New York Metropolitan Transit Agency's refusal to run anti-Muslim ads has been mooted by the Agency's new advertising standards, the Second Circuit ruled last week. The American Freedom Defense Initiative, famous for insulting billboards and "draw Muhammad" contests, had tried to run the controversial ad on New York City subways and busses. The MTA denied the ad, on the grounds that it incited violence.

AFDI won in court, promoting the MTA to change its advertising policy. The ad was still banned, but now because it was "political," and that was enough to moot the case, the Second Circuit ruled.

NSC Drone Strike Records Are Not Covered by FOIA

The Second Circuit recently decided to stand with the D.C. Circuit in ruling that the National Security Conference was outside of the reach of FOIA.

This means one thing: documents relating to drone strikes and other national security issues are that much more obscured from view.

The Second Circuit reluctantly dismissed five lawsuits against Jordan's Arab Bank on Tuesday, ruling that the bank was immune from suit under the Alien Tort Statute. Plaintiffs sought to hold the bank accountable for financing and facilitating terrorist attacks in the West Bank.

Those suits were barred by Second Circuit and Supreme Court precedent, the court explained, while inviting an en banc sitting or the High Court to overrule earlier decisions that have kept terror victims from recovering in court.

A child born to an American is an American citizen -- right? Not exactly. Everyone born in the U.S., of course, gets citizenship, much to Donald Trump's chagrin. Children of American citizens born abroad get "derivative citizenship," or citizenship through parents, only under certain conditions.

When it comes to derivative citizenship, the deciding factor is often the American parent's gender, if the child was born out of wedlock. That means many children born outside the U.S. to an American father, for example, are denied citizenship that would be available had they been born to an American woman. An older version of that system is unconstitutional, a recent Second Circuit decision declared in an opinion that might put current immigration laws at risk.

New York and Connecticut gun control laws prohibiting the possession of assault weapons and large-capacity magazines do not violate the Second Amendment, the Second Circuit ruled Monday. The laws were passed following the December, 2012, school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. In the attacks, 20-year-old Adam Lanza used three semiautomatic weapons to kill 20 children and six adults, firing 156 shots in less than five minutes.

The ruling upholds the core provisions of both laws, which were some of the only gun control legislation successfully enacted after the Sandy Hook attacks.

Your credit is once again as good as gold in New York, thanks to a recent ruling by the Second Circuit. The state's ban on credit card surcharges is not unconstitutional, the court ruled Tuesday. Under the law, companies cannot impose a surcharge on a customer who chooses to pay by credit card rather than cash, check, or gold doubloons.

That law, in place since 1984, was invalidated two years ago when a district court found that it violated merchants First Amendment and due process rights. The Second Circuit disagreed, however, reviving the 31 year old law.

Prosecutors who mislead grand juries aren't protected by qualified immunity and can be sued, the Second Circuit ruled last Friday. The case involved a former New York State Special Assistant Attorney General who submitted fraudulent and misleading evidence to a grand jury in order to indict a dentist accused of Medicaid fraud.

After the dentist, Dr. Leonard Morse, was acquitted, he returned to court to sue the prosecutors, alleging that their manipulation of evidence before the grand jury denied him his constitutional right to a fair trial. A district court jury, and now the Second Circuit, agreed.

You think it would go without saying: corrections officers cannot sexually abuse inmates without violating those inmates' rights. Apparently not. The Second Circuit felt the need to restate the obvious after a district court tossed two inmates' suit, which alleged that they were fondled by correctional officers in violation of the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.

Such abuse is clearly unconstitutional, the Second Circuit wrote. Further, it emphasized that the Circuit's Eighth Amendment precedents must be applied broadly to comport with evolving "societal standards of decency" regarding inmate sexual abuse.