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

Recent Court News Decisions

Lawyer's Mistake Dooms Client's Case at 7th Circuit

Once in a while, a case matters more to the lawyer than to the client.

That is no doubt the case in Jaworski v. Master Hand Contractors. The defendant appealed a $340,000 judgment, but the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed.

Unfortunately for defense counsel, the appeals court also said it was the lawyer's fault. Add to that an attorney's fee sanction, and you're having a really bad day.

Indiana Beer, Wine, and Liquor Battle Continues

A legal battle over beer, wine, and liquor licensing has been brewing for years in Indiana.

Monarch Beverage -- the state's largest beer distributor -- won't let go of a state law that prohibits companies from holding permits for both beer and liquor wholesaling at the same time.

After the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled, however, one thing is clear: the strange brew battle is not over yet.

Judge Refuses to Order School to Suspend Transgender Policy

When you lose a case at trial, sometimes it's better to just let it go.

Gary McCaleb, a lawyer for the Alliance Defending Freedom, doesn't think that way. He lost a ruling in Chicago that says anti-discrimination laws protect transgender students.

"It's not a defeat until the Supreme Court rules the wrong way," McCaleb said. "And I don't think they will."

'Go Topless' Day at the Seventh Circuit

Some cases naturally get more attention than others, like the 'Go Topless' case.

It started in 2014 when Sonoku Tagami celebrated "GoTopless Day" by walking half-naked around Chicago. She wore nothing over breasts but body paint, and received a $100 fine for violating a public nudity law.

The case could have ended there, but the woman sued, saying she has a right to bare her breasts in public. Now the case is back in the news, and one appeals court judge agrees with her.

Seventh Circuit Ponders Abortion Ultrasound Rule

If Planned Parenthood has a war room, the Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Circuit Courts of Appeal are in the middle of the battle plan.

The federal circuits take up the center ground in the United States, including Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, and Ohio. The appeals courts are dealing with contentious abortion issues in all their jurisdictions.

A judge in the Sixth Circuit struck an abortion ultrasound law a month ago, and now the Seventh Circuit is deciding a similar issue.

Court Hears Challenge to School's Christmas Program

Gavin Rose, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, was musically unprepared for his appearance at the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

Judge Frank Easterbrook, considering the ACLU's challenge to a Christmas concert at an Indiana high school, asked Rose whether Bach's "St. Matthew's Passion" would violate the U.S. Constitution. Rose said he didn't know the piece and apologized for his lack of musical knowledge.

"Oh dear, that is a problem," Easterbrook said in Freedom From Religion Foundation v. Concord Community Schools.

If judicial benchslaps were a literary genre, retired judge Richard Posner would be the Charles Dickens of benchslaps. From attorneys, to litigants, to other courts, if Judge Posner had an opinion, he made it known, regardless of hurt feelings or social sensitivities.

However, in an interesting twist of fate, one of Posner's most notorious benchslaps has just resulted in an appellate court reversal, by his own former Seventh Circuit. Making the matter even more contentious, particularly given his recent commitment to helping pro se litigants, the reversal concerns his handling of a pro se litigant's federal district court trial. Compounding the controversy, the reversal seems to be completely attributed to Judge Posner's inability to maintain judicial decorum.

Judicial Nominee Barely Passes Senate Test

When somebody starts by saying, "It's not about this...," that's a big hint that it really is about that.

So it seemed for judicial nominee Amy Coney Barrett when she appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Chairman Chuck Grassley, who voted for the nominee, said he was "surprised and disheartened" by Democrats' questions involving her faith.

"Their questions strongly implied that she's too Catholic for their taste, whatever it means to be 'too Catholic,'" Grassley said.

News broke at the end of last week that the fan favorite judge of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the Honorable Richard Posner, was retiring. Here at FindLaw, we're big fans of the Pos -- after all, he's perhaps one of the most entertaining judges in U.S. history.

To honor one of our all time favorite Your Honors, below, you'll find a few of our favorite Posner opinions.

Supreme Court to Review Wisconsin Gerrymandering Case

In a case that could affect elections nationwide, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review a gerrymandering decision from Wisconsin.

All legislatures draw voting districts to favor the incumbent party, but the court will decide how far they can go in drawing maps along party lines. In Gill v. Whitford, a federal court panel said Republican lawmakers had unlawfully drawn state assembly maps to keep Democrats from securing legislative seats.

While agreeing to review that decision, the Supreme Court also stayed the lower court's order to re-draw the maps while the appeal is pending.