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

January 2014 Archives

Obamacare Tax Credit Lawsuit Struck Down by D.C. District Court

A lawsuit challenging the extension of Obamacare tax credits to federally run health insurance markets was struck down by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

In Halbig v. Sebelius, plaintiffs sued the Obama administration regarding an IRS rule that states that enrollees of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in either state-operated or federally-run health insurance markets will be eligible for premium tax credits, The Washington Times reports. Plaintiffs argued that the law's language limits tax credits to health exchanges in state-operated markets only.

U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman disagreed and found that the rule does indeed apply to both state-run and federally-facilitated health exchanges.

CLE: Joint International Law Conference Set for April

The American Society of International Law (ASIL) and the International Law Association (ILA) are coming together for their first ever joint conference, scheduled for April 7 to 12, 2014, in Washington, D.C.

The joint conference will comprise both ASIL's Annual Meeting and ILA's Biennial Conference. Based on the theme of "the effectiveness of international law," the conference will address such topics as how to maximize the effectiveness of international law, the role of international courts, and the effect of non-governmental actors, according to the ASIL's website.

For ASIL or ILA members, the early bird rate of $405 is extended until February 7. Non-members will pay $565. After February 7, the rate will be $480 for members and $650 for non-members.

Changes to Law Clerk Hiring by D.C. Circuit Judges Start in 2014

The D.C. Circuit judges have made changes to their law clerk hiring practices for the 2014-2015 term.

In the past, judges were encouraged to hire third-year law student students based on the Federal Law Clerk Hiring Plan. However, the plan wasn't a requirement for the judges, and many opted to hire based on their own timelines, so the hiring system was not cohesive amongst all the circuit judges, the D.C. Circuit Court website explains.

Now hiring terms are based solely on a judge's discretion and "exploding offers" are off the table.

A new year brings new email scams and frauds in the D.C. District Courts and state courts.

In addition to emails containing a virus or fake cases, individuals are being targeted with jury scams and arrest warrant scams. The scams tell people that if they don't pay up, they'll be arrested, according to the U.S. District Court for D.C.'s website.

Net Neutrality: D.C. Circuit Strikes Down FCC's Anti-Blocking Rules

The D.C. Circuit struck down relevant portions of the FCC's Open Internet rules resulting in a slightly more claustrophobic Internet.

The D.C. Circuit eliminated the anti-blocking and anti-discrimination requirements in the FCC's Open Internet Order. The ruling was based on the Verizon v. FCC case, where Verizon challenged the FCC's authority to impose the rules on broadband networks.

This case is a big win for ISPs and sets a strong precedent for future network neutrality cases.

For the second time, D.C. area attorney Garland Stillwell is suspended from practicing in D.C. and Maryland for at least 60 days, reports the Blog of Legal Times. Stillwell can petition to be reinstated after that time period.

Stillwell was disciplined for mishandling his client's matters and funds.

In case you missed last week's CLE on disciplinary no-no's, Garland Stillwell's suspension will inspire you to avoid being another tale of bad lawyering.

D.C. Bar CLE: Disciplinary Year in Review on Jan.13

Coming to a conference center near you: the D.C. Bar presents, "Disciplinary Year in Review: District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia," a CLE course. The course takes place on Monday, January 13, 2014 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. at the D.C. Bar Conference Center.

With all of available CLE courses out there, this legal ethics course is a triple whammy for lawyers that practice in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia who are looking for a refresher on what gets attorneys disciplined.

FOIA's Deliberative Process Privilege Protects OLC Opinion

The Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held that FOIA's deliberative process privilege allows the Department of Justice to deny a request for an Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) Opinion.

The OLC Opinion requested by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) discusses the FBI's authority to request phone records from service providers, but the request was denied after appealing to the D.C. Circuit.

So, how does this case affect FOIA requests?