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

October 2014 Archives

6th Cir. Reverses Ohio Jail Voting Decision for Lack of Standing

It sounds like one of Jerry Seinfeld's rejected comedy routines: "And what's the deal with Ohio and voting restrictions?"

With Ohio's voter ID law headed to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Sixth Circuit decided another bit of Ohio's election law. But this one's a little bit different.

Proselytizers With Pig, Pummeled by Hecklers, to Get En Banc Hearing

This is a tough question: What do police officers do when a group called Bible Believers, carrying a severed pig's head and yelling about a "pedophile prophet," are confronted at the Arab International Festival in Dearborn, Michigan, by Muslim children with rocks and bottles?

The "peaceful" proselytizers are kind of asking for it. But you don't want to crush their speech rights by giving in to the hecklers who are pelting them with rubble. Eventually, after things started to get out of hand, and the leader of the Bible Believers group was bleeding from a cut on his face, police stepped in and escorted the group out of the festival.

The original case split 2-1 in the Sixth Circuit, with the majority siding with the police officers and the dissent arguing that the cops didn't go far enough to protect speech rights. Now, the full Sixth Circuit will give the case the en banc treatment.

Ky.'s 300-Foot Polling Place Buffer Zone Struck Down by Fed. Judge

In an attempt to keep voters from being harassed by signs and people with handbills, many places around the country have geographic limits on signage around polling places. A state law in Kentucky says that no one can engage in electioneering within 300 feet of a polling place.

That seemed a little too far for Judge William O. Bertelsman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, who ruled earlier this week the state's law was unconstitutional.

Tenn. Officials Not Liable in Occupy Nashville Lawsuit: 6th Cir.

Back in August, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in Occupy Nashville v. Haslam. On October 8, the court issued its opinion reversing the district court's order. The Sixth Circuit found that Nashville police and city officials were entitled to qualified immunity.

Facts in Brief

With no public notice, comment, or even the presence of the public, the City of Nashville, Tennessee, unilaterally changed city policy to establish a 10 p.m. curfew in the city's War Memorial Plaza, which previously had no curfew. Nashville then distributed copies of the new curfew to protesters and posted signs on the plaza. At 3 a.m., police enforced the newly crafted rule against Occupy Nashville protesters.

6th Cir. SCOTUS Grants (So Far): Prison, Securities, Retirement

So far, the Supreme Court has granted only three petitions from the Sixth Circuit, on issues as varied as prisoner litigation and securities law. Many more petitions are waiting in the wings, including same-sex marriage, the Amish beard-cutter, and limiting hours for early voting.

For now, though, Sixth Circuit watchers will have to tide themselves over with these three cases:

Probably 4 More Years of Ohio Gov. Kasich, as FitzGerald Blunders

For a while, it looked like Ohio Gov. John Kasich wasn't going to be re-elected. Kasich was the same type of staunch Republican as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. But where Walker succeeded, Kasich failed. Voters harshly rebuked a Kasich-endorsed state senate bill that would have limited public employees' collective bargaining rights.

In 2012, toeing the party line with other Republican governors, Kasich said the state wouldn't be implementing a state health insurance exchange. But months later, he changed his mind, declaring Ohio would have a state exchange after all.