6th Circuit Civil Rights Law News - U.S. Sixth Circuit
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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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The Sixth Circuit is progressing with cases related to same sex marriage, as it consolidated appeals for all cases pending in that circuit. Meanwhile, the court has heard appeals related to Detroit's bankruptcy, and a habeas case resting on elementary tenets of criminal procedure.

Let's take a look at the most recent happenings in the Sixth Circuit.

You may not be familiar with Insane Clown Posse's music, but you probably are familiar with the way they look. I mean, how many rappers do you know that wear clown makeup? (Yes, we're serious). And, much to our chagrin surprise, they are quite successful and even have a devoted following of fans called Juggalos.

Juggalos show their unity by wearing clown makeup, or sporting HatchetGear, a line of apparel with the Hatchetman logo, as well as other characteristics. Um, so why do we care? Because the FBI does, and because Insane Clown Posse, Juggalos and the ACLU of Michigan have sued the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice -- that's why.

The Sixth Circuit is seeing a lot action lately on the same sex marriage front, with all four states in the circuit facing appeals on the issue. As the Sixth Circuit will join the national debate on same sex marriage, we also have other cases making progress though the courts related to hate crimes and a death row inmate's attempt at a second chance.

Read on for details ...

There's a lot happening in the Sixth Circuit. With the status of Michigan's same sex marriage status up in the air, a new lawsuit has been filed by the ACLU. What will the fate of the couples married in the small window of time when same sex marriage was legal in the state?

We also remember a former Sixth Circuit judge who broke boundaries and look at what influences federal judges.

The Sixth Circuit is hearing several appeals from different states regarding the recognition of same sex marriages in other states. In Tennessee, the Sixth Circuit granted a stay of a preliminary injunction, and in Kentucky, the parties are filing appellate briefs.

And while all this same sex marriage litigation is happening, three Kentucky death row inmates just want to sweat it out.