7th Circuit Civil Rights Law News - U.S. Seventh Circuit
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Recent Civil Rights Law Decisions

Perhaps these requests have something to do with the Seventh Circuit's cancellation of previously scheduled oral arguments in two gay marriage appeals out of Wisconsin and Indiana. Earlier this month, the appeals were combined and fast-tracked for oral arguments on August 13.

Late last week, however, the Seventh Circuit issued this release (H/T to Equality on Trial):

The court, on its own motion, ORDERS that the oral argument in this appeal, scheduled for Wednesday, August 13, 2014, is VACATED. A new oral argument date will be set by separate court order.

Okay, but why? It might have something to do with requests from the states of Indiana and Wisconsin to proceed directly to an en banc hearing of the case, rather than the typical three-judge panel.

The Sixth Circuit is not alone in consolidating appeals of same sex marriage cases within the circuit: last week, the Seventh Circuit consolidated two same sex marriage cases.

The Seventh Circuit also recently decided a case affecting all of the states surrounding the Great Lakes, and is going to hear a case about an Indiana law regulating the sale of cold beer. Finally, our favorite benchslapper speaks out.

Read on for details on all of these stories.

There's some interesting summer action happening in the Seventh Circuit -- summer time is no time for fun and games, apparently. As things heat up outside, they are heating up headlines and court rooms as we wait on some key decisions.

Read on to find out more on John Doe Probes, Rod Blagojovich and the latest trend in contraception mandate litigation.

Earlier in May, we noted that a case originating in the Seventh Circuit, Elmsbrook School District v. John Doe was languishing in certiorari purgatory, as the case -- at that time -- had already been distributed for conference eight times.

After supplemental briefs were filed, the case was distributed for conference four more times. The twelfth time was a charm apparently, as the Court finally decided whether to grant or deny cert.

The Seventh Circuit has seen a lot of action dealing with Wisconsin campaign finance in the past few weeks. First, the circuit court swiftly stepped in to stay a district court's order granting a preliminary injunction.

Next, the Seventh Circuit found that much of Wisconsin's existing campaign finance laws are unconstitutional in light of the Supreme Court's recent political speech jurisprudence.

The Seventh Circuit has important cases up and down the pipeline to the Supreme Court, all dealing with sensitive issues that pit people on either side of lines drawn in the proverbial sand.

Recently, the Seventh Circuit put to rest a case that has been litigated for 28 years, and denied an en banc rehearing -- with the next step almost certainly being a bid for cert. review.

All that while an Establishment Clause case languishes in perpetual conference.

The protests, and dramatic exit of Wisconsin State Senate Democrats, surrounding the legislation of Wisconsin's Act 10 in 2011 are still fresh in our memory, yet they occurred three years ago. The controversial act has already been before the Seventh Circuit on constitutional grounds, and the challenges failed.

This week, in a second case, the Seventh Circuit again found that Wisconsin's Act 10 is constitutional.

A divided panel of the Seventh Circuit found a school's policy prohibiting boys from sporting long hair on the basketball court violated the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause and was sex discrimination under Title IX, reports the ABA Journal.

Long Hair Don't Care

The parents of A.H. sued his school district alleging violations of substantive due process, equal protection of the laws and Title IX regulations when A.H. was removed from the basketball team for not complying with the coach's hair length policy promoting "team unity" and a "clean cut" image, reports The Indianapolis Star.

In the ongoing legal saga that is made up of multiple legal challenges to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate (with 93 pending cases and counting), the Seventh Circuit has added its two cents again.

Back in November the Seventh Circuit weighed in on the issue of the contraception mandates applicability to for-profit, secular businesses, and came out on the side of business owners when it granted an injunction pending appeal, stating that "compelling [business owners] to cover those services substantially burdens their religious exercise rights."

A few weeks ago, the Seventh Circuit issued an opinion in another case challenging the mandate, only this time, it's regarding self certification Form 700 that allows religiously affiliated institutions to exempt themselves from carrying out the contraception mandate.

With the Supreme Court in full swing, Monday was a busy day for denials (just take a look at the order list). One of the cases denied cert. was a case originating in the Seventh Circuit, and one of a trio of cases the SCOTUSblog likes to call the "washing machine" cases.

We also take a look at Wisconsin's voter photo ID law that is before Wisconsin's highest court.