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

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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.

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.

President Can Fire Agency Head Only for Cause

During his State of the Union address, President Trump urged Congress to allow government officials to fire workers who "undermine the public trust or fail the American people."

But under a federal court decision issued the next day, it's not going to be that easy even for the president. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said the head of a consumer protection agency can only be fired for cause.

PHH Corporation v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is not a big setback for the "You're fired" president, but it is a huge affirmation of the power of an administrative agency.

Reporters Get Win in 'Fake Reporters' Case

With continued political spin, "fake news" has come to mean "news reports that are not true." It's a political definition.

But there is another kind of "fake news." It's when the government or others pretend to be reporters and disseminate false information.

That's what the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is looking for -- records that FBI agents impersonated reporters for its investigations. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia says the "real press" is entitled to it.

Despite having never served on the bench, President Trump's current White House attorney, and the former assistant attorney general under George W. Bush, Gregory Katsas, has been confirmed to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

While never having been a judge might jar some people, the ABA had given Katsas its highest rating of "well qualified," and for good reason. Katsas, before becoming President Trump's deputy counsel in the White House, was a respected appellate attorney, and has an education and background that is rather impressive.

Recreational Elk Hunting Does Not Require Yearly NEPA Review

The 'Jackson Herd' is one of the largest elk herds in North America.

If you have seen a postcard of the majestic Grand Teton National Park, the herd may have been in the picture. Thousands of the animals roam the park and the neighboring National Elk Refuge.

Kent Nelson and Timothy Mayo, wildlife photographers, sued to stop a government plan to allow more elk hunting in the national park. Denying the challenge, the DC Circuit told the plaintiffs to move on.

Court Blocks Trump's Transgender Military Ban

As a federal judge blocked President Trump's order against transgender people in the military, his transgender ban and travel bans started to sound alike.

Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly issued an injunction against Trump's directive on transgender military members, which he had dumbed down after a political backlash in July. Instead of a ban, the President said in August that transgender service members could be discharged.

It's more of the same, however, as the courts have pushed back repeatedly against the President's executive orders. Assuming more of his advisers are not indicted, Trump will probably appeal.