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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?

It was the first trial in the "Borg Cube," the new federal courthouse in Salt Lake City. The defendant, Siale Angilau, allegedly grabbed a pen or pencil and rushed the witness stand. A nearby U.S. marshal pulled out his gun and fired multiple times. Angilau, 25, did not survive.

Now, word has emerged that there is a tape of the shooting, one which the district court, in the name of security, refuses to release. Does Chief Judge Ted Stewart have a point?

The Black Hills National Forest ("BHNF") straddles Wyoming and South Dakota, and its infestation by pine beetles has made the forest a subject of litigation in South Dakota, Wyoming, and Colorado.

Last week, the Tenth Circuit joined the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in denying environmental activist organizations the ability to challenge plans to address the pine beetle infestation in the BHNF, South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley announced.

Washburn University School of Law, you (finally) have something to celebrate: a Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals judge (and now-former Kansas Supreme Court Justice). Other notable Washburn alums include former Senator and Presidential candidate Bon Dole and Fred Phelps, Pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church. Time to update the Wikipedia page, folks!

Justice Moritz, now Judge Moritz, fills a vacancy that's been around since then-Judge Deanell Tacha took senior status in 2011, shortly before taking over as Dean of Pepperdine Law School. With Moritz's ascension to the bench, the list of judicial vacancies grows even smaller, leaving only a few district-level spots in the Tenth Circuit, and a few circuit court seats elsewhere.

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The Center for Public Integrity recently completed an audit of federal appeals courts, checking financial disclosures against panel assignments for missed conflicts. On the surface, the results were worrisome: twenty-six definite conflicts over three years throughout the system. These were cases where a judge had a financial interest in one of the parties, or one of the law firms that represented the parties, and should've recused.

Well, so far, from our review of the conflicts, it's been much ado about nothing, with nearly all of the conflicts coming in unanimous decisions, most of which were nonprecedential and unpublished. Don't expect much more from the Tenth Circuit, as there was only one conflict unearthed -- an understandable mistake from a stock broker that led to a conflict in another unanimous decision.

The "Borg Cube," as the locals like to call it, opened one week ago. Today was the first trial in the new courthouse. Lets hope the rest of the trials go more smoothly than this one.

During the last of a series of trials for alleged Tongan Crips members, defendant Siale Angilau, 25, allegedly grabbed a pen or pencil and tried to charge the stand. A U.S. Marshall shot him multiple times in the chest. He was removed from the building on a stretcher, in critical condition, while the brand new courthouse is expected to be locked down until Monday afternoon, reports the Salt Lake Tribune.

Colorado Federal Court Offers ECF System Training

The U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado is offering in-person and online training for its Electronic Case Files (ECF) system.

Like many other jurisdictions, e-filing your federal court documents is pretty much mandatory in Colorado unless there's an exceptional circumstance, according the district court's website.

The ECF training is open to attorneys and law firm staff members, including paralegals and law clerks.

Meet Utah's New Attorney General, Sean Reyes

Sean Reyes, Utah's new attorney general, is the first ethnic minority to hold a state position in recent memory. Reyes is a Filipino-American with previous political and legal ties to the Utah community, according to The Salt Lake City Tribune.

Reyes was sworn in following John Swallow's resignation over bribery allegations. Although Reyes has been in office for less than a month, he's already making waves for representing Utah in the legal drama surrounding the same-sex marriage ban.

Make a Holiday Donation to the 10th Cir.'s Historical Society

To get into the spirit of giving this holiday season, why not give back to the Tenth Circuit by making a charitable contribution to the Historical Society of the Tenth Judicial Circuit?

As we all know, the lawyers and judges of the Tenth Circuit have a rich history. Becoming a member or making a small contribution to the society can help to preserve and promote the legal community and public's understanding of the role of the circuit.

Republicans Filibuster Judge Robert Bacharach's Confirmation

Judge Robert Bacharach has entered the ranks of filibustered judicial nominees, and he wasn’t even a controversial choice.

Judge Bacharach’s nomination was derailed this week due to the Senate’s Thurmond/Leahy Rule. The “rule” is actually a Senate custom: Senators typically do not approve judicial nominations close to a presidential election since a possible new president would want to make his or her own appointments, The Hill reports.