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After a district court blocked Ohio's attempts to limit early voting opportunities, and after the Sixth Circuit refused to issue a stay pending appeal, the state was down to a Hail Mary petition in the last few minutes of the game.

With early voting set to commence, including the "Golden Week," which allows voters to register and vote on the same day (and is a logistical headache for the state, which has to verify those registrations on the spot), the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in Monday morning and voted 5-4 to issue a stay in the case, all but guaranteeing that the state will get its way this election, and early voting opportunities will be limited. (H/T to SCOTUSblog)

From Tennessee comes a pretty serious case of animal neglect on the part of United Pet Supply, which operates pet stores. After receiving complaints about animal neglect, Chattanooga animal welfare workers visited the store, observing lots of neglected animals in pretty bad conditions. (See pages 5-6 of the opinion for more of the details.)

City workers seized the animals, revoked Pet Supply's license to sell animals on the spot, and cited the company for various violations. Pet Supply commenced a suit in federal court against the animal welfare workers, alleging due process and Fourth Amendment violations. The district court granted the city workers qualified immunity on some claims, but denied summary judgment on other claims, finding there were factual disputes.

It has been a rough month for Ohio's election laws. First, a district court blocked the state's attempt to pull back early voting days, including the state's "Golden Week," where individuals could register and vote on the same day. Then, the state's stupid law that criminalized making false statements in elections predictably fell at the hands of the Sixth Circuit.

On Friday, the Sixth Circuit denied a stay pending appeal in the Golden Week case and today, the state filed its merits brief in its appeal, arguing that judges shouldn't order last minute changes in the way elections are run.

This was a stupid law from the start. Now, it is a stupid, dead law.

Ohio banned making false statements in elections. In 2010, the Susan B. Anthony List erected billboards stating that former Cincinnati Congressman Steve Driehaus had voted for "taxpayer-funded abortion" by backing Obamacare, The Plain Dealer recounts. The group was charged with violating the law, but the complaint was dropped after Driehaus lost the election.

After two lower courts held that the Susan B. Anthony List lacked standing to challenge the law's constitutionality, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed earlier this year, holding that the threat of future prosecution could chill speech and was sufficient to show an injury for Article III purposes.

Finally, four years after the battle began, U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Black, with a bit of pop culture flair, held that the law was unconstitutional and permanently blocked it.

Following the woes Ohio experienced in the 2004 election, the state legislature established "no fault" absentee voting and early, in-person (EIP) voting. In 2013, Ohio passed a statute decreasing the number of EIP days to 28, down from 35. The decrease in EIP days was an attempt to close a loophole: EIP voting and the voting registration deadline overlapped during a period subsequently called "Golden Week," meaning voters could register and vote at the same time. Election officials claimed that the reduction in EIP days, and the closing of this gap, was necessary to verify the identities of new voters, as state law requires that a voter's identity be confirmed before his or her ballot can be counted.

The NAACP, League of Women Voters, and several African American churches filed an equal protection challenge and a request for an injunction after the changes were made. The lawsuit also challenged the lack of statewide standards for EIP voting times: Not only was there no standard for how long EIP polling places could be open, but there was no standard for when they were open; for non-presidential elections, there were no evening hours at all and only one Sunday available. Particularly concerning was the fact that many African-Americans organized outings to polling places after church the Sunday before Election Day, but not every EIP polling place was open on Sundays.

The "Heckler's Veto" isn't just a vestige from your constitutional law class. It's alive and well -- so much so that the Sixth Circuit brought it back into the spotlight in a case about unruly mobs, freedom of religion, and freedom of speech.

Dearborn, Michigan boasts a significant Arab-American population. Naturally, it has held a three-day Arab International Festival every year from 1995 to 2012. A Christian group, Bible Believers, came to preach there in 2011. They wandered through the crowd, engaging in "peaceful proselytizing," which "sparked confrontation with bystanders." One Believer was arrested and released without charge.

As the Second Circuit wraps up its Occupy Wall Street case, the Sixth Circuit is just getting started with its own Occupy issues.

On Monday, the court heard oral arguments in Occupy Nashville v. Haslam. While there are no transcripts available yet, the contours of the issues follow established case law that should result in another win for the Occupy Nashville protesters, who previously won at the district court level.

The undefeated streak is over.

Last week, a state judge in Tennessee ruled against gay marriage, becoming the first to do so since the Supreme Court decided United States v. Windsor last year. In a case brought by two men, legally married in Iowa but seeking a divorce in Tennessee, Judge Russell E. Simmons, Jr. held that Tennessee's Anti-Recognition clause, passed directly by the voters, should stand, as "neither the Federal Government nor another state should be allowed to dictate to Tennessee what has traditionally been a state's responsibility."

We'll admit it: We were pretty excited for yesterday's marathon oral arguments at the Sixth Circuit. How often does a fundamental civil rights issue get hashed out in court? How often are five cases and four states' laws addressed all at once, marathon-style?

But as unique as these cases are procedurally, the truth is this: Whatever the Sixth Circuit holds in a few weeks or months, it'll likely be irrelevant.

On August 6, 2014, the Sixth Circuit will hear oral arguments in five consolidated cases addressing same-sex marriage bans in every state in the circuit -- Kentucky, Tennessee, Michigan and Ohio.

Though the Tenth Circuit (in cases involving Utah and Oklahoma) and Fourth Circuit (in a case involving Virginia) have already issued opinions striking down state gay marriage bans, this is the first set of cases out of the Sixth Circuit. And since all of the cases have been consolidated into one set of mega-arguments, the issue could be settled virtually overnight.

We also have the skinny on the panel, which includes two Republican appointees and one Democratic appointee, as well as information for those who wish to attend the oral arguments in person.

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