Decided - The FindLaw Noteworthy Decisions and Settlements Blog

January 2013 Archives

Obama Recess Appointments Ruling May Affect NLRB Decisions

President Barack Obama isn't the first chief executive to make recess appointments to government agencies like the National Labor Relations Board. But if last week's federal appeals court ruling stands, he may be the last.

In general, when the president wants to appoint people to vacant executive posts, he must present his nominees to the Senate for approval. But many presidents have bypassed that process, especially when a nominee faces stiff opposition, by appointing people while the Senate is in recess.

This had gone on for years, until a few of President Obama's recess appointments to the NLRB were challenged in court. A ruling by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has thrown that process into question.

Medical Pot Reclassification Appeal Rejected

Supporters of medical marijuana have been trying to change the perception of pot for years. But they have lost again, this time on appeal in a federal court.

Americans for Safe Access initiated this case in 2011 when they petitioned the Drug Enforcement Administration over marijuana's classification. The drug is listed as a "Schedule I" substance, meaning it has no medical use and a high potential for abuse, at least according to the DEA.

ASA, along with other groups and several individuals, were hoping to change that definition with new evidence. But they couldn't get the court on their side.

Roe v. Wade's 40th Anniversary: What the Court Actually Decided

It's Roe v. Wade's 40th anniversary. But while many people may have heard about this famous Supreme Court case, more than half of people under 30 can not say what the case is about, a recent survey found.

Here's a hint: It's about abortion.

To refresh your memory about exactly what the Supreme Court decided in Roe v. Wade, here's a quick recap of the case on its 40th anniversary:

Floating Home Was Not a Boat, Supreme Court Rules

Don't call it a "houseboat." The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week that a Florida man's floating home was not a vessel. For the record, a houseboat has means of propulsion, and Fane Lozman's home did not.

Because of that distinction, the "floating home" should not have been seized by the City of Riviera Beach under federal maritime law, the Court held.

But why would a city try to seize a man's houseboat -- er, floating residence -- in the first place? And then argue it all the way up to the Supreme Court? Well, the home's owner was a bit of a pain in the neck, NPR reports.

Justice Clarence Thomas Breaks 7-Year Silence With 4 Words

Justice has spoken. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, that is.

Why do we even care? Because it's apparently the first time he's spoken during oral arguments in court in nearly seven years.

Seven years of silence. So what prompted him to speak, and what were his magic words?

Unfortunately, in all of the commotion, the only words that ended up on the record were:

No More 'Stop and Frisk' Outside NYC Building, Judge Rules

New York City's "stop and frisk" policy has been the subject of debate in the past, but Wednesday's ruling may put a serious dent in its enforcement.

Judge Shira Scheindlin was asked to rule on the New York Police Department's tactic of performing a "stop and frisk" on people entering and exiting certain buildings. While the trial hasn't begun, Scheindlin has issued a temporary injunction against the practice.

That means police officers won't be able to rely on people loitering around certain buildings as a reason to do a "stop and frisk." But how long will that stop them?

Foreclosure Settlement to Cost 10 Banks $8.5B

There's good news for past and present homeowners, as a group of 10 banks have reached a settlement over claims of foreclosure abuse.

The deal makes changes to an enforcement action by the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of Currency. The original action required banks to hire independent consultants to investigate foreclosure abuse and make victims whole.

But that process proved both inefficient and ineffective. Now the parties have reached a separate agreement that will hopefully benefit foreclosure victims.

Flipping Off Police Doesn't Warrant Traffic Stop: 2nd Circuit

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has weighed in on the lofty issue of whether flipping off the police is enough to effectuate a traffic stop. It isn't.

John Swartz and his wife were driving in upstate New York in 2006, when Swartz was alerted to a police officer in the area by his radar detector.

While some appreciate the job that police officers perform, Swartz was obviously not one of these individuals. Instead, the man waved his middle finger at the parked cop as he and his wife drove by.