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

Recently in Court News Category

Judge Tells White House to Give Jim Acosta His Press Pass Back

To its credit, CNN reported the news straight: "Judge Orders White House to Return Jim Acosta's Press Pass."

The news agency could have spun the story much differently because Acosta works for CNN. The headline could have read: "Judge Schools Trump on the First Amendment," or "Acosta Beats Trump in Whitehouse Throwdown."

But no, there was no fake news to sensationalize the report. The judge granted a temporary restraining order against the president.

The federal circuit appellate court for the District of Columbia will soon be getting a replacement for the seat recently vacated by rookie SCOTUS Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

President Donald Trump, on the holiday of Diwali, announced that he has nominated the Administrator for the White House's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Neomi Rao, for the open seat on the D.C. circuit bench. Rao may not have prior experience as a federal judge, but she did clerk for the Supreme Court under Justice Thomas, and on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

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.