U.S. Tenth Circuit

U.S. Tenth Circuit - The FindLaw 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog


The Supreme Court released its order list Monday, and two notable cases originating in the Tenth Circuit were on it.

One case deals with a procedural issue, and seeks clarification on the pleading requirements for seeking removal to federal court. In the other case, the Court was asked to weigh in on whether New Mexico's public accommodations statute violated the First Amendment's prohibition on compelling speech.

Here's a breakdown of the two cases:

The big day is here. The first federal appellate case post-Windsor made its way through oral arguments this morning, and it was not without its own wave of drama.

Even before the arguments began, Utah officials backtracked on authority used in their briefs. Then, in oral arguments, the panel seemed to be deeply divided, with two judges sticking to their predicted ideological lines, and a third serving as the wildcard.

As the first of a coming wave of same-sex marriage appeals in this circuit, and many other circuit courts of appeal, this case is important as authority for the remaining cases, as well as a possible vehicle for a Supreme Court appeal.

Getting a divorce was not enough for Gwen Bergman. She not only wanted her husband out of her life, but out of this realm. Ms. Bergman dipped into her mother's retirement account to the tune of $30,000 to hire a hit man to murder her husband. The problem? The man she hired was an undercover cop. Ooops.

But that was just the beginning of Ms. Bergman's lack of good judgment. She was duped yet again by her so-called attorney, if you could call him that. You see, he wasn't an attorney, but a con man who had been making a nice living duping many other clients (and courts).

Double oops.

The Tenth Circuit's traditionally conservative stance when it comes to reproductive rights and women's issues is at the forefront this week with two key developments in a case involving Kansas's Title X funding of Planned Parenthood and the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate.

Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri v. Moser

In 2011, Kansas Governor Brownback signed a law that essentially defunded Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri. Planned Parenthood sued, asking for injunctive relief challenging the law on Supremacy Clause, First Amendment, and Fourteenth Amendment grounds. The district court found that Planned Parenthood had established a likelihood of success on the merits on the Supremacy Clause and First Amendment claims, and granted a preliminary injunction. Kansas appealed.

Oklahoma: The Most Cleverly Named CLE Courses

Completing CLE requirements are never at the top of any lawyer's "to-do" list, but the Oklahoma State Bar might change the tide with their cleverly named CLE courses.

Here are three CLE courses you should check out or at the very least, admire the creative titles:

Two University of Denver constitutional law professors have initiated two challenges to ag gag laws: one in Utah federal court, the other in Idaho.

Ag Gag Laws

What's an "ag gag" you ask? If you ask someone in the industry, they'll say that they are "agriculture protection laws." If you ask an animal rights activist, they'll say that the laws are "prohibitions [that] are deliberately designed to silence or "gag" anyone attempting to collect evidence," says Food Safety News. Seven states currently have ag gag laws in place, according to Food Safety News: Idaho, Utah, Missouri, Iowa, North Dakota, Montana and Kansas, with eleven states currently considering, or considered in the past, some type of ag gag law, according to the ACLU.

Utah Court News: District Court Relocation, Upcoming CLE

In case you got caught up in the excitement of the first Utah woman being confirmed to the Tenth Circuit, you may need a reminder about some other important events: The Utah District Court is relocating and the Utah State Bar has an estate planning CLE coming up.

Here's what lawyers need to know:

Judge Carolyn McHugh was nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit on May 16, 2013. It took nearly 10 months to confirm her, despite her candidacy being non-controversial and supported by Democrats and Republicans alike.

Why did it take so long? Politics, of course.

The Political Landscape of Confirming Judges

Judge Carolyn McHugh was confirmed unanimously on Wednesday (March 12) -- just two days after 34 Republicans voted to block her nomination, reports MSNBC. Republicans and Democrats are pointing fingers at each other, with Democrats on one side blaming Republicans for filibusters and wasting "time and money to annoy Senate Democrats," while Republicans argue that's the only way to show their discontent with the Democrats' "nuclear option" of bringing back majority-rule voting on judicial nominees, reports according to MSNBC.

But, enough about the blame game, let's get to know Judge Carolyn McHugh.

3 Electronic Filing Tips for the Utah District Court

For new attorneys practicing in the Utah District Court, it's essential to have a good handle on using the electronic case filling (ECF) system.

If you've practiced in the Tenth Circuit, you're probably e-filed before, but each court has its own unique rules.

Here are three tips for using the CM/ECF system in the Utah District Court, according to the local rules:

The Criminal Justice Act ("CJA") established a system to provide attorneys to defendants in federal criminal cases who could otherwise not afford legal representation. If you are currently a member of the CJA panel, and are interested in getting more experience, the Standing Committee is currently accepting applications for lawyers to serve on the Standing Committee on the Criminal Justice Act.

CJA Standing Committee Vacancies

The Standing Committee of the U.S. District Court's Criminal Justice Act has announced that it is seeking applications for the Standing Committee, so that it may fill three vacancies. The term for each position on the Standing Committee will begin on approximately April 1, 2014, and lasts three years. Once a member of the Standing Committee, an attorney may serve up to two more terms. The Standing Committee meets at least six times per year, and applicants must be "willing to attend all meetings, and must be prepared to devote significant time to the assigned duties."