U.S. Sixth Circuit - FindLaw

U.S. Sixth Circuit - The FindLaw 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog


En Banc 6th Cir. to Hear Government-Led Prayer Case

The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeal didn't take long to take another look at its recent decision against prayer at a county commission meeting.

The entire court, acting sua sponte, ordered another hearing on the issue less than two weeks after a panel ruled in the controversial case. In a split decision, the panel had said that Jackson County commissioners violated the First Amendment in conducting prayers before each meeting.

"Legislative prayer may fall outside the bounds of the Establishment Clause if it strays too far from its traditional purpose and effect--respectful solemnification -- or if it is unconstitutionally coercive," Judge Karen Nelson Moore wrote for the majority.

Tax Loophole Upheld by 6th Circuit

Caligula, the notorious Roman emperor, posted the tax laws in fine print and so high that citizens could not read them.

"How can citizens comply with what they can't see?" the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeal said in comparing the short-lived emperor to the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service. "And how can anyone assess the tax collector's exercise of power in that setting?"

Reversing a tax court decision, the federal appeals court upbraided the IRS commissioner for penalizing taxpayers for their contributions to Roth IRA's. The contributions were designed to avoid taxes within the scope of the law at the time, but the commissioner "recharacterized" the transactions to extract more tax dollars.

"As it turns out, the Commissioner does not have such sweeping authority," Judge Jeffrey Sutton wrote for the unanimous court. "And neither do we."

During his unconventional press conference on Thursday, President Trump described the Ninth Circuit, as "in chaos." It was "a circuit that has been overturned a record number," he said, going on to explain that "this is just a number I heard, that they are overturned 80 percent of the time."

The comments come just days after the Ninth Circuit ruled against the president's travel ban, prompting surrogates to deride the court as "the most overturned court in the country." But that assertion isn't accurate, by many measures. That honor now goes to the Sixth. Not, however, that it matters.

AT&T Didn't Violate ADA for Firing Employee With Depression

A company lawfully fired a woman suffering from depression and anxiety because she was not qualified to do her job, a federal appeals court ruled.

The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a judgment against a woman who sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act after her employer fired her for excessive absenteeism. Kirsten Williams, who went months without reporting for work, blamed her absences on depression and anxiety attacks. The appellate court said she had no case because she could not do her job.

"In the end, this case reflects the reality that there are some jobs that a person with disabilities is simply unable to perform," the unanimous panel said. "A blind person cannot be an airline pilot, nor can one with advanced Parkinson's disease be a neurosurgeon."

Officers who killed two pit bulls during a drug raid in 2013 have qualified immunity, the Sixth Circuit ruled recently. The dogs were shot multiple times as police in Battle Creek, Michigan, executed a search warrant. Afterwards, the dogs' owners sued, alleging that the pooch killing was an unconstitutional seizure of property under the Fourth Amendment.

It's a mixed ruling for fans of man's best friend. Though the Sixth ruled that unreasonably shooting a dog is a Fourth Amendment violation, it found the shootings reasonable here, given testimony that the dogs were barking and had lunged at officers.

The National Labor Relations Act, in order to create a nationally uniform corpus of labor law, generally preempts labor regulation on the state and local level. There are exceptions, however, including the ability for states to adopt "right to work" laws. But does that state exemption extend down to the local government as well?

Yes, according to the Sixth Circuit, which last week upheld local "right to work" ordinances, finding that they were not preempted by the NLRA.

Want to commemorate your vote for America's first potential Madame President? Feeling like sharing your Trump ballot with your friends on Facebook? Well, think twice before snapping a ballot selfie if you're a voter in Michigan, where a ban on displaying completed ballots has been in place since 1891, long before ballot selfies became a thing.

That ban has survived 125 years so far and will last through this election, after the Sixth Circuit stayed an injunction against the rule until after ballots are cast this Election Day.

We've got good news for legal professionals in the Volunteer State. FindLaw has just released its new Tennessee Code and Constitution section, giving you access to the best source of Tennessee state laws you can find.

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6th Circuit Allows Suit to Proceed Against Web Monitoring Software

Spying on your spouse used to involve reading their mail, looking for lipstick on their collar, looking at call logs, etc. Some of these spy techniques, though widely used in unhappy marriages, can be actionable offenses.

But how culpable are makers of technology that facilitate spying? That is the question at the center of the recent Sixth Circuit case, Luis v. Awareness.

Here's some good news for legal professionals in Michigan: FindLaw just launched its new Michigan Compiled Laws and Constitution section, bringing you the best source for Michigan laws this side of Great Lakes.

So if you're looking for information on anything from Michigan's social services laws to its rules for coroners, FindLaw has you covered -- for free.