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Judge Rules for Students Fighting for Loan Forgiveness, Against Education Dept.

Students saddled with school loans may get a break after a federal judge ruled in a case against the U.S. Department of Education.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos had delayed a regulation that gave borrowers a defense against lenders if their schools engaged in misconduct. DeVos stalled the regulation, citing the potential for borrowers to abuse the law.

But the students won a ruling that the department decision was "arbitrary and capricious" in Bauer v. DeVos. In a word, the education secretary got schooled.

Court Stems Tide of EPA Rules on Toxic Waste

In a battle against toxic waste, some federal judges may feel like the boy who put his finger in a dike to save his country.

The little Dutch boy, in the novel by Mary Mapes Dodge, sees a leak and stops it with his finger. It ends well after townspeople see him and make the necessary repairs.

But United Solid Waste Activities Group v. Environmental Protection Agency is no fairy tale. The DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled to save the environment, but it may be too late.

Justice Department Takes a Shot at Judge in AT&T-Time Warner Merger

The Justice Department has asked a federal appeals court to throw out the $85 billion AT&T-Time Warner deal.

Legal observers say the government has a losing argument against the mega-merger, which brings major television programming to AT&T's cable service DirectTV. But that hasn't stopped the government's lawyers.

Mary Wimberly took her best shot in United States of America v. AT&T, arguing that the trial judge made "errors of economic logic and reasoning." However, those are not typical grounds for appeal.

Appeals Court: No Religious Ads on Buses

The writing is on the wall for Pamela Geller, who sued a city bus service that rejected her anti-Muslim ad.

Technically, the Metro refused to put her ad on the side of its buses -- not the wall. But a federal appeals court upheld the bus service's policy in a similar case, and the writing is on the wall because Geller's case is pending.

In Archdiocese of Washington v. Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority, the U.S. DC Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Transit Authority's rejection of an ad from the Catholic church. Not exactly the same as Geller's ad, but it is the same policy: no ads that "promote or oppose any religion, religious practice, or belief."

Court Sends Back Americans' Case Against Hezbollah

In the summer of 2006, Hezbollah militants killed more than 1,000 civilians in a bloody attack on Northern Israel.

After kidnapping and killing several Israeli soldiers, they fired thousands of rockets into civilian cities, towns, and villages. When it was over, nearly 2,000 people were dead.

Some years later, survivors sued for their injuries in Kaplan v. Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Unfortunately, their battles are not over.

Kavanaugh Going Up, DC Circuit Down?

With nearly 300 decisions, Judge Brett Kavanaugh had a productive run at the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.

But no good deed goes unpunished, and some of those decisions may become stumbling blocks when the Senate reviews his record during the confirmation process. It's not like any one will prove to be his undoing, however.

As most pundits have predicted, he will become the next justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. The question here is, how will he fit in as he leaves the DC Circuit?

Is Judge Brett Kavanaugh Bound for SCOTUS?

Long before Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement, his potential replacement was already in the political hot seat.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh, a former Kennedy clerk appointed to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals in 2006, had a tough time getting there. His confirmation was delayed for three years as opponents took aim at him.

Still, Kavanaugh is considered the frontrunner for Kennedy's spot. It makes sense, even though he may be going into a Senatorial lion's den.

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.