U.S. Tenth Circuit

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


Last week, we reported about a quick, three-paragraph order allowing Citizens United to show the film "Rocky Mountain Heist" without having to disclose the names of the people who donated to the project. The Tenth Circuit promised that it would deliver a substantive opinion on the issue soon, and on Monday it certainly did -- in the form of a 34-page opinion with a nine-page dissent.

So why, exactly, doesn't Citizens United have to disclose the donors of "Rocky Mountain Heist"?

The Westboro Baptist Church (the "God Hates F--s" folks who protest funerals) is always good for a publicity stunt or two. What's today's stunt? The WBC wants to intervene in the legal challenge against Kansas's gay marriage ban, reports the Washington Blade. But the church isn't exclusively citing legal authority to support its motion to intervene in the district court.

It's also citing a higher power: the Bible. And the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, because the group asserts Kansas will burn if marriage equality is achieved.

A Colorado state trooper stopped Melissa Sotelo for driving too slowly in the left-hand lane. Sotelo was driving a car rented from Hertz by Patrick Schooler, but there were no other authorized drivers listed. The car wasn't stolen, and Schooler was a friend of the passenger, Janelle Mireles. Hertz asked the police to impound the car.

Before they did, they conducted an inventory search and found three gift-wrapped boxes in the back seat. The driver and passenger said the boxes contained baby clothes, a karaoke machine, and a baby stroller -- birthday gifts for Sotelo's daughter. Suspicious, the trooper obtained a search warrant, then opened the boxes. Happy birthday! Marijuana.

We recently blogged about a rash of post-Citizens United cases brewing in the lower federal courts. These cases are trying to slowly push corporate speech forward, this time by exempting certain speakers from campaign disclosure requirements.

In the Tenth Circuit, the Court of Appeals has tentatively allowed Citizens United (they very same!) to refrain from disclosing its donors pending the outcome of Citizens United v. Gessler before the court.

We're sorry to have to do this. We'll try to minimize your agony. But be warned: These are the two least interesting cases currently on the Supreme Court's docket, and the only two cases to come out of the Tenth Circuit (so far).

What are talking about? Sufficient fact pleading for removal of massive class action lawsuits to federal court and some barely comprehensible case involving the federal Tax Injunction Act and the ability of federal courts to hear non-taxpayers' complaints about a state reporting law that is a "secondary aspect of state tax administration."

Actually, on second thought, these are kind of interesting ... in a "law school casebook fodder/exam torture" sort of way.

Less than two weeks ago, the Kansas Supreme Court held that Chad Taylor, a Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, could drop out of the race over the objections of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Republican. Taylor, who filed his "I quit" paperwork at the deadline, did so in order to avoid splitting the anti-Republican vote with a popular independent candidate, Greg Orman.

Kansas' highest court, however, failed to address the issue of whether the Democratic Party could abandon the race altogether -- the statute does say, after all, that the party "shall" replace the candidate. It uses the word "shall" 13 times, in fact.

Quantity and severity of language wasn't enough to convince a state district court, however, which held today that no pinch hitter was necessary.

Hot on the heels of decisions from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and the Fourth Circuit, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma ruled today that Obamacare subsidies aren't available to residents of states that didn't establish their own state-run exchanges.

If you'll recall, there was a teensy bit of controversy over the Affordable Care Act. Republican-leaning states -- including Oklahoma -- opted out of running their own state insurance exchanges, meaning the federal government had to step in to operate the exchanges.

Yes folks, that's the same Citizens United, and they're at it again: litigating their way to through the courts, hoping to upset established campaign finance law.

As we blogged about last week, their target is an amendment to the Colorado Constitution and a state law, which together require disclosure of donors who fund electioneering communications. The communication at issue here, "Rocky Mountain Heist," is ironically a documentary film that seeks to shine a light on money in Colorado politics. Citizens United is hoping that the appeals courts will allow it to keep its contributors masked because the district court really wasn't convinced. (H/T to Election Law Blog)

We write a lot around here about the repercussions of Citizens United v. FEC, but we've never done a People magazine-style "where are they now?" about Citizens United. Has it become embroiled in drugs? A nasty divorce? Bankruptcy?

Nope, Citizens United -- the organization -- is still alive and well, and churning out documentaries. This time, the documentary is called "Rocky Mountain Heist," which "concerns various Colorado advocacy groups and their negative impact on Colorado government and public policy," referring to elected officials and candidates by name.

Another interesting election law decision out of the nation's heartland. Is it just me, or is this an especially litigious year?

The Kansas Supreme Court on Thursday granted a Democratic U.S. Senate candidate's wish, letting him off the ballot over the protestations of Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

Yes, we know, usually ballot access battles are fought to get on the ballot. So why was Chad Taylor so desperate to get off the ballot? Why did a Republican fight so hard to keep him on?