U.S. Seventh Circuit - FindLaw

U.S. Seventh Circuit - The FindLaw 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Indiana governor and Donald Trump running mate Mike Pence did well for himself in this week's vice presidential debate, if pundits and flash polls are to be believed. But his debate night triumph came on the heels of a stinging legal defeat, as the Seventh Circuit upheld an injunction against his Syrian refugee ban. Pence instituted the ban last year, after the terrorist attack in Paris, directing state agencies to stop funding the resettlement of Syrian refugees.

The Seventh Circuit wasn't having it. On Monday, the Seventh shut down Pence's ban, in a six-page tongue lashing that described the governor's logic as unfounded and based on "nightmare speculation." The ruling came shortly after last month's oral arguments during which Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Posner could barely contain his withering disdain for the state's position. Scratch that. He couldn't contain his distain at all, declaring at one point "Honestly. You are so out of it."

'Rats. This case is about rats.' And so begins Seventh Circuit Judge Frank Easterbrook's finest judicial opinion, his Marbury v. Madison, his Brown v. Board of Ed., his Fisher v. Lowe.

Well, maybe that's going a bit far. But for a case about rats, this one from Easterbrook is pretty good.

7th Cir. Blocks Ct. Injunction That Would Have Allowed Voting With No ID

The Seventh Circuit threw up roadblocks to halt an injunction that had been issued by Judge Lynn Adelman of Milwaukee that would have allowed persons in Wisconsin to cast their ballots despite having no photo ID. The circuit found that the lower court was "too lenient in loosening a state voter ID law that had already been declared discriminatory," according to the New York Times.

$77.8 Million RICO Award Gets Two-Thirds Reduction

The Seventh Circuit has concluded that RICO does not apply to the 2014 conviction of disgraced Gov. Rod Blagojevich because there was "no specific threat" of a scheme existing at the time.

The result is that the $77.8 million that had been awarded to a casino group would get the haircut of the century: a reduction to $25 million.

7th Circuit: Sexual Orientation Not Covered by Title VII

Lesbians and gays (and presumably bisexual, transgender, and queer persons) do not enjoy Title VII anti-discrimination under that federal statute, the Seventh Circuit has ruled. However, cultural realities demand that employers cannot simply dodge legal punishment scot free.

7th Cir. Limits Class Action Attorneys' Fees

The Seventh Circuit stepped in to reduce some rather handsome lawyer fees sought by class action attorneys, and the move could make class action litigation that much less enticing to practicing attorneys. The issue gets to the heart of whether or not attorney fees should be based off a percentage of the final pot, or based on the amount actually collected by those plaintiffs who opted-in.

It's bad news for class action lawyers who are looking for their pot of gold at the end of the class action rainbow, as many lawyers see this cinching of the belt as a new trend.

ADA Suit Affirmed by 7th Circuit in Favor of City Driver

A man who had worked for the city for the greater part of three decades was vindicated by the Seventh Circuit in a non-accommodation claim. The man had claimed that the city fired him for not having a commercial license -- an item that was impossible for him to acquire because of diabetes he'd developed over the years.

This very interesting ADA-retaliation case mixes employment law and politics. Employers should pay attention to the tone of this court carefully.

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Jared Fogle's Pitch for Mercy Fails at the 7th Circuit

Last month Jared Fogle attempted to convince the court that his 188-month sentence had been unjustifiably enhanced and should be reduced. The case made headlines in particular because of the controversial theory his lawyer pushed: fantasizing about having sex with minors is not a crime.

Now, the Seventh Circuit has affirmed the district court's ruling, effectively closing the door to further calls for mercy unless an appeal to SCOTUS is made.

No Racial Slurs Allowed by Chicago School, Teacher Firing Upheld

In the ironically-named case of Brown v. Board of Ed., a teacher who was suspended from his position for using the N word in his classroom (for educational purposes) has no First Amendment claim, according to the recent Seventh Circuit ruling. Also, for related reasons, the court says the teacher suffered no violation of his due process. It's Brown v. Board of Education again, but it still has yet another layer of appeal left to go.

The ruling will upset many of those who have pointed out repeatedly the gray line that exists between proper use of language in a setting that has restricted Free Speech interests.