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iPhone Seizure at Accident Scene Violated 4th Amendment

If you have teenagers with cell phones, do not let them see this story.

A federal appeals court said it is a Fourth Amendment violation to take away a person's cell phone without a "reasonable basis." Of course, that applies when it's the government taking the phone.

But still, you may want to think twice about explaining the constitutional nuances to a kid who has a death grip on a cell phone. For cops, well, that's this story.

There's the one percent, then there are one percenters. And then there are these three alleged one percenters who sued law enforcement after the improper use of their driver license photos was discovered.

The three motorcycle club members were part of a group of seven, singled out by law enforcement, to have their driver license pictures used for lobbying purposes. On the assumption that their images would frighten state lawmakers away from passing an open carry law, the plaintiffs' pictures (without any other identifying information) were distributed to the lawmakers by the department's government liaison alongside information explaining that these were the type of people who would utilize the open carry law.

Court Blocks Segregationist School Plan in Alabama

As a young civil rights lawyer, U.W. Clemon lost an important desegregation battle against the Jefferson County school district in Alabama.

A federal appeals court later reversed in his favor, however, with orders that set in motion desegregation in schools there and across the country. A lifetime of litigation later, Clemon lost it again.

In Stout v. Jefferson County Board of Education, a trial judge said the people of Gardendale could secede from the school district to form their own school system so long as they complied with the decades-old orders. That was not a victory for civil rights -- until the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.

When most people envision First Amendment civil rights challenges against college campuses, student protest groups come to mind. However, the University of Alabama just fought off a seemingly random Evangelical preacher's federal First Amendment lawsuit, and Eleventh Circuit appeal.

Fortunately for UA, both the district and appellate courts agreed that the preacher's case did not merit granting a preliminary injunction against the campus. Whether or not the case will get much further is a different story, but the facts are rather curious, and don't seem to bode well for the well-meaning plaintiff preacher.

Trump's 11th Cir. Pick Disappoints LGBT Community in 1st Opinion

Justice Kevin Newsom, recently confirmed to the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, didn't take long to find controversy.

With his first written opinion, Morrissey v. United States, Newsom said that a homosexual man could not deduct medical expenses for a child he fathered through invitro fertilization. Opponents jumped on the decision as soon as it hit the press.

LGBT advocates said Newsom got it wrong. But it wasn't the first time the justice has taken heat for his opinions.

There once was a plaintiff from Sandy Springs,
Whose case was about some interesting things,
But as they got their sex toys,
Sad still were the boys,
That they couldn't drink at the strip club.

In a pair of, aptly called, provocative appeals, befitting of a blogger to write a limerick, Sandy Springs, Georgia, plaintiffs, Flannigan Enterprises, Fantastic Visuals, as well as some others in the local adult entertainment industry, are nursing their wounds.

One case centered around the Sandy Springs ban on the sale of sex toys, while the other case focused on the ban on the consumption of alcohol in businesses that have nude, or partially nude, live entertainment. While Flannigan and company lost both cases, and the subsequent appeals, the plaintiffs can rejoice in the fact that Sandy Springs at least repealed the sex toy ban on their own accord.

The Civil Rights Act's protections against discrimination 'on the basis of sex' do not protect gay and lesbian workers who face discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation, the Eleven Circuit ruled on Friday.

That wouldn't be a terribly noteworthy outcome, if this were still the 1970s, or even the early 2000s. During those periods of civil rights litigation, courts routinely refused to extend employment protections to gay, lesbian, and transgender employees. But in recent years, the consensus has started to shift. The EEOC has interpreted the Civil Rights Act to protect gay workers, for example, and the Eleventh itself has extended protections to transgender employees.

But those earlier cases still stand, the Eleventh ruled, and they still bind the court's interpretation of civil rights laws today.

An en banc Eleventh Circuit yesterday struck down a Florida law that prevented doctors generally from asking their patients about gun ownership. The law was an unconstitutional restriction on the doctors' free speech, the court ruled.

The legal battle over that law, Florida's Firearms Owners' Privacy Act, earned the moniker Docs v. Glocks, after doctors complained that the law prevented them from properly screening patients and discussing possible health risks.

ACLU Wins Appeal for LGBT Club Against Middle School

A federal appeals court has ruled that LGBT students may proceed against a Florida middle school that denied its application for a student club.

In reversing the dismissal of the club's lawsuit, the Eleventh Circuit said that Florida law gives middle school and high school students the same rights to form extra-curricular clubs. The justices said Florida's law inconsistently defines "secondary education," but concluded that a middle school is a secondary school for equal access purposes.

"We conclude that 'secondary education,' under Florida law, means at least 'courses through which a person receives high school credit that leads to the award of a high school diploma,'" the justices said in reversing and remanding the case.

Unless the school district appeals, the district court will now decide whether Carver Middle School must accept the club. The appellate court decision has far-reaching implications, however.

A police officer in Georgia, who claims he was punished for reporting racial profiling, can pursue his section 1983 and defamation suit against the local sheriff's department, the Eleventh Circuit ruled last week.

Derrick Bailey, a law-enforcement officer with more than 17 years of experience, alleges that he was terminated and harassed for reporting racial profiling and constitutional violations in the Douglasville police department and Douglas County sheriffs office. That retaliation included a "BOLO," or "be-on-the-lookout" advisory to all law enforcement in the county, describing Bailey as a "loose cannon" and danger to any cop -- a warning the Eleventh Circuit notes could have left him dead at the hands of his fellow officers.