DC Circuit - The FindLaw DC Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog


The District of Columbia federal district court just ruled that the AT&T merger with Time Warner can move forward. The deal had been on hold for nearly a year and a half, and the massive ruling explicitly stated that if the government sought to stay the ruling pending appeal, the court would deny that motion.

While this merger has been a lightning rod for controversy since being announced in 2016, it seems that all the hoopla was for naught. The district court's opinion placed no conditions on the merger, unlike prior mergers between exclusive content license holders and media networks.

Court Quiets Silent Protest Case at Hillary Clinton Speech

Ray McGovern stood with the audience and then turned his back to Hillary Clinton as she spoke at George Washington University.

Printed on his shirt -- "Veterans for Peace" -- was his message. He stood there until two guards escorted him out of the room -- that's when his silent protest got ugly.

McGovern sued for constitutional violations, but a federal judge dismissed in McGovern v. Brown. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia agreed, saying the officers had probable cause to arrest him.

For those who can't get enough appellate court action, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has announced that, starting this fall term, it will begin live-streaming the audio of all non-sealed, non-classified, matters.

Currently, the court only live-streams the audio upon request. But, it still uploads the audio for every case on the same day as arguments. Additionally, the court already provides an impressive online archive of audio recordings dating back to 2007. Notably though, that collection didn't go online until 2013.

Trump Administration Fights Order to Release Clinton-Lewinsky Secrets

Whoever first said "politics make for strange bedfellows" didn't know Donald Trump and Bill Clinton.

Some say Shakespeare, some say another year. But the expression was never more true than in 2018, when the Trump administration asked a court not to release grand jury records about Clinton's sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky.

The Justice Department has appealed a court order to unseal records that have been secret for two decades. It may not have any impact on the Stormy Daniels case, but the irony is not lost on anybody who enjoys a historical plot twist.

Court Probes Guantanamo Lawyers' Spying Claims

A federal appeals court wants to know if prosecutors intruded on attorney-client communications in a case out of Guantanamo Bay.

Defense attorneys withdrew from the case after they found a microphone in the client meeting room. Prosecutors said it was for interrogations and not used during attorney-client meetings.

In Spears v. United States of America, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia wants to know more. The panel has ordered the government to produce "any and all" relevant information, including "classified or unclassified" information.

Will the DC Circuit Quash the Nazi Art Case?

German relics have made their way to a federal appeals court, and we're not talking about old lawyers.

The Guelph Treasure, dating back to the 11th Century, is a collection of medieval art that ended up in the hands of Nazi Germany. Jewish art dealers sold it to the government in 1935, right after Adolf Hitler rose to power.

Their descendants sued to reclaim the treasure, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is thinking about it. According to reports, this is a battle they just might win.

The federal district court in Washington D.C. issued a lengthy opinion which may end up being in favor of the NAACP and public interest groups' that filed a lawsuit against President Trump over the rescinding of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The court relied heavily on the other three federal court opinions on the issue, and deferred reaching their own conclusions, particularly as the other federal cases are presently being appealed, and SCOTUS has already ruled that it will not take the matters up before the appellate courts rule.

The court's opinion, delivered by Judge John Bates, a George W. Bush appointee, held that the administration's rescission of DACA was arbitrary and capricious, and thus unlawful. Judge Bates set aside the rescission, but stayed his order for 90 days to provide the Trump administration some time to come up with some valid, lawful, rationale. If the DACA rescission isn't fixed in 90 days, DHS will be required to fully restore the program.

In one of the many rollbacks from federal agencies over the last year, the FCC has curiously reinstated the UHF rule. Despite the fact that the technological rationale behind the UHF rule no longer exists due to the transition in 2009 to digital broadcasting, the rule was reinstated this past year.

Almost immediately after the rule was reinstated, Sinclair Media began the process to acquire Tribune Media, leading to controversy and litigation. Just this past week, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments on whether to get rid of the rule again, as public interest groups argued the reinstitution of it was arbitrary and capricious.

In what's being hailed as a win for the public, one federal court judge ruled (over the weekend) that the federal court system has been misusing the profits generated by the PACER and the CM/ECF system.

The Saturday ruling in the National Veterans Legal Services Program v. U.S.A. case found that several programs and purchases funded by the profits generated by the PACER systems, which climbs into the millions annually, were improper. While not a win, exactly, for either party, the case will continue to move forward as the court determines what exactly PACER fees can be used for.

Benghazi Claims Against Hillary Clinton Dismissed

For better or for worse, Hillary Clinton will forever be linked to the attack on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi. This week, it was better for the former secretary of state.

A federal appeals court agreed to dismiss claims against her by parents whose sons died in the 2012 attacks. The U.S Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said Clinton was acting within her office at the time and was not a proper defendant.

In Smith and Woods v. Clinton and the United States of America, the parents claimed Clinton defamed them and lied about the attack. The appeals panel said she just disagreed with them.