7th Circuit Court Rules News - U.S. Seventh Circuit
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Recent Court Rules Decisions

Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson's suit challenging Obamacare's changes to congressional health plans was dismissed by the Seventh Circuit for lack of standing on Tuesday. Johnson and his legislative counsel had sued after the Affordable Care Act resulted in changes to their healthcare options, including federal subsidies for their health care plans. Johnson, however, had purchased his own private healthcare instead of participating in the federal program.

The two couldn't show an injury, needed to provide standing to sue, a unanimous Seventh Circuit ruled. The government had simply provided them a benefit which they refused.

On Monday, the Supreme Court decided a case that had circuit court of appeals split, that is, whether property, as defined by the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act of 1996 ("Act"), is "'returned' when a victim takes title to collateral securing a loan that an offender fraudulently obtained from the victim."

The Supreme Court clarified its stance, and affirmed the Seventh Circuit's opinion.

Francis Grady was on a mission to "blow up" a Planned Parenthood clinic in Grand Chute, Wisconsin, and when we was arrested, tried and convicted of arson and intentionally damaging property, he was surprised. With no wiggle room to get out of his conviction, he challenged the district court's definition of "maliciously" on appeal.

The Arson

Grady went to Daniel Wolf's house seeking gasoline and told him "that he wanted to blow up Planned Parenthood." Wolf refused, and Grady proceeded to buy gasoline, go to Planned Parenthood and start a fire. After hearing about the fire on the news, Wolf contacted police about Grady. During the police interview Grady confessed and said that he "lit the clinic up," that his "intention was to light the building," and he had told a friend afterward that he "thought as far as I know I though it f*****' burned right down."

We've been writing a bit about the "Benchslappy" Seventh Circuit -- we can't help ourselves. The Seventh Circuit's benchslaps are funny, and often illuminating -- so much so we had to do a review of some that have occurred only within the past three months.

After reviewing some of the more notable Seventh Circuit benchslaps through the years, we've decided to put a list together for you on how to avoid getting whapped the next time you submit a brief, or argue, before the Seventh Circuit.

We're only three months into 2014, and the "Benchslappy" Seventh Circuit (so dubbed by Above the Law) has already issued enough benchslaps to warrant a review. And we're not just talking Judge Posner, but Judge Easterbrook as well. Here's a little round up of some of the latest benchslaps coming out of the Windy City.

Judge Posner's Benchslaps During Oral Arguments

Earlier this month we posted on the Seventh Circuit's opinion, written by Judge Posner, affirming a district court's denial of Notre Dame's motion for a preliminary injunction in a contraception mandate case. Apparently, the court's opinion may be getting as much press as some of the interactions between the bench and Notre Dame's attorney Matthew Kairis during oral arguments.

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.

It's amazing how Judge Posner can take a simple issue, and use it as an excuse to go on, and on. In this case, the issue before the Seventh Circuit was "whether the defendant was served with process" -- but Judge Posner characterized it as one that "could be the basis for a novel of international intrigue."

No matter what you say, this is no case for 007, we just see it as a case of stereotyping, and over-simplification.

We called it. What probably will be one of many upsets this Supreme Court term has happened: the writ of certiorari for Madigan v. Levin was dismissed as improvidently granted.


Some things are just not done. For example, demonstrative exhibits not admitted into evidence are just not sent into the jury room to assist the jury with deliberations. Yet somehow, that's precisely what happened here.

The Seventh Circuit reversed a judgment and remanded for a new trial because of a district court's error. Here's the latest case that had us scratching our head and thinking, "Did that really just happen?"

FRCP 58 requires that judgments of any federal district court be in a "separate document," and non-compliance causes an official date of judgment to be set 150 days after the court's final decision.

In Brown v. Fifth Third Bank, Judge Posner of the Seventh Circuit is confronted by a blatant disregard for the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) and decides that it's time to lay down the law. And who doesn't love it when Judge Posner lays down the law?