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November 2013 Archives

Goodbye Nuclear Waste Fees: Return to Yucca Mtn.

The D.C. Circuit axed annual fees for nuclear waste disposal on Tuesday, noting that the government had left the Court no option while Yucca Mountain is tied up in red tape.

Politico reports that since the Obama administration has continuously demonstrated its resistance toward finishing the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, it is ludicrous for the Department of Energy to collect its "0.1-cent charge from utilities and customers for each nuclear-generated kilowatt-hour of electricity."

The fee has fed the Nuclear Waste Fund for the last three decades, but not after this week's D.C. Circuit ruling.

Senate Republicans Block Third D.C. Circuit Nominee

Strike three and you're out ... of nominees to the D.C. Circuit. After Monday's vote to end debate on Republican delay on nominee Robert Wilkins failed by seven votes, it appears that Senate Democrats have no more nominees to put before the full Senate.

The Associated Press reports that President Obama called the blocking of his third nominee to the D.C. Circuit a "completely unprecedented" obstruction, accusing Congress of failing to uphold its constitutional responsibilities.

D.C. Circuit Weighs In on "Blackfish" and SeaWorld's OSHA 'Tale'

The CNN-produced documentary "Blackfish," premiering at the Sundance Film Festival, is a whale of a tale landing SeaWorld in a sea of legal woes.

The film traces a 39-year history of killer whales in captivity leading up to the graphic 2010 killing of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau by the 12,000-pound orca, Tilikum, a whale previously associated with the deaths of two other people.

A cautionary tale, "Blackfish" highlights the captivity of orcas, the chilling danger it poses to whale trainers, and the wave of legal liability in which SeaWorld is now drowning.

D.C. Circuit Nominee Pillard Blocked by Senate Republicans

Nina Pillard's nomination to the D.C. Circuit was blocked by Senate Republicans on Tuesday, prompting Senate Democrats to further consider changing the filibuster rules.

ABC News reports that Pillard's nomination to one of three empty seats on the D.C. Circuit was stymied by a "procedural vote" of 56-41, with Democrats sorely missing the four votes needed to block a filibuster on the issue.

Is Pillard's blocking going to be a continuing trend?

Bad Wiretap Warrant Gets Defendants New Trial

No one likes wiretaps, but the D.C. Circuit isn't particularly fond of wiretap warrants which are facially deficient. And the remedy in U.S. v. Glover was a new trial.

You can't exactly blame the court for its inclinations; an obviously legally lacking warrant that is executed to spy on domestic suspects isn't exactly the fantasy of any enlightened democracy.

So why exactly did the D.C. Circuit knock this case back to trial?

Corp. Can't Assert Free Exercise in Mandate Claim, But People Can: D.C. Cir.

Moving into the birth control mandate discussion on Friday, the D.C. Circuit ruled on a religious challenge to the ACA's contraceptive in a split decision with some definite quirks.

In Gilardi v. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, the D.C. Circuit was split on whether the Gilardi family, who are staunch Catholics and oppose contraception, were denied free exercise by having to choose between their businesses offering health care coverage and their religious beliefs.

Where does D.C. fall in the spectrum of its Sister Circuits on the question of corporations exerting free exercise claims?

D.C. Circuit Nominee Millett Blocked by Senate Republicans

Senate Republicans blocked voting on an Obama nominee to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals last  Thursday, with Senate Democrats refusing to use the "nuclear option" they'd been threatening.

According to The Washington Post, Patricia Millett's confirmation was blocked after the Senate failed to reach a 3/5 majority to bring Millet's nomination to a vote. Senate Republicans also blocked the nomination of another Obama nominee to the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

What does this mean for Millet's chances to ascend to the D.C. Circuit bench?