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

December 2012 Archives

Constitution Trumps NLRA in Newspaper Mutiny

The D.C. Circuit wasn’t fooled, even if the initial labor board was.

Ampersand Publishing acquired the Santa Barbara News-Press in 2000. Over the next four years, a shift in editorial tone, meant to quash the reporters’ alleged bias that was seeping into their writings, led to a full-on revolt. By 2006, the mutiny was on. Reporters sought a return to “journalistic integrity.” Ampersand’s owners sought to run their business as they saw fit.

A number of resignations and protests ensued, including an event where approximately twenty employees duct taped their mouths shut. Unfortunately for Ampersand, the tape didn’t stick and more protests followed, including a campaign to convince subscribers to cancel their subscriptions in protest.

Lawyer Sues After Feds Reject Her Job Application

Malla Pollack, a lawyer and resident of Kentucky, wants work for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts in Washington, D.C. The Administrative Office rejected her application because she doesn't live or work in the Washington metropolitan area.

So she sued.

Considering that Pollack just wiped the floor with the government's lawyers in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, maybe they should consider hiring her.

Justice Watch FOIA Request is 'No-Match' for Tax Return Exemption

Employers are required to file a W-2 for every paid employee. The W-2 lists the identities of the employer and the employee, the amount that an employee has been paid, and the taxes that have been withheld by the employer. The Social Security Administration (SSA) processes Forms W-2 for the IRS. On occasion, the employee's name and Social Security number as listed on a Form W-2 do not match the SSA's database. When that happens to a sufficient number of employees, the SSA sends the employer a "no-match" letter.

In 2006, Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the SSA, seeking the names of the 100 U.S. employers that generated the most no-matches from 2001 through 2006. The agency declined to produce such records, concluding that they were exempt under FOIA Exemption 3. The District Court agreed with the agency, and the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that decision.

Recess Appointments: What's the Big Deal?

Back in January, President Obama capitalized on the Senate’s generous recess allowance and placed two Democrats and one Republican on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

The NLRB supervises union elections and resolves disputes between private-sector employers and employees, but it can’t operate without a quorum. The recess appointments preserved the quorum, The Wall Street Journal reports.

It was also a strategic move. The Journal explains that by making the appointments when he did, “Obama doubled to two years the length of time the appointees can serve. That’s because a recess appointment expires at the end of the Senate’s next session — in this case at the end of 2013 — or when the appointee or someone else is nominated, confirmed or permanently appointed, whichever occurs first.”

PTSD Is Not a Get Out of Jail Free Card

Andrew Warren was once a “rising star” in the Central Intelligence Agency. In 2007 and 2008, the CIA assigned Warren to work as a high-level official for the United States Embassy in Algeria. During that time, he allegedly roofied and sexually-abused two women.

In 2009, the CIA terminated Warren. Later that year, he was indicted on one count of sexual abuse. When he failed to appear for a status hearing in 2010, the district court issued a bench warrant for his arrest. While searching for Warren, the government discovered that Warren’s neighbor in Norfolk, Virginia had filed a complaint that Warren had exposed himself to her.