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Tribe Must Pay Taxes on Gaming Money

Sally Jim, a member of the Miccosukee Tribe, had a good year at the casino.

She made $272,000 without ever playing a game. That was her per capita distribution as a member of the 400-member, Florida tribe.

There was one problem, however. In United States of America v. Jim, a federal appeals court said she should have paid her taxes.

This week, President Donald Trump announced his nomination of Georgia Supreme Court Justice Britt Grant. If confirmed, Grant will fill the soon to be vacated seat by Justice Julie Carnes, who will be stepping down to senior status this June.

Interestingly, Grant only recently took the bench in Georgia in 2017. From 2015 to 2017, she served as the Solicitor General for the state of Georgia. After earning her J.D. from Stanford, she served as a law clerk to Justice Kavanaugh on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Notably, Grant also held a few roles during the last Bush administration.

FDA, Justice Shut Down Sexual Enhancement, Weight Loss Business

'Bulls genital male pills are ALL NATURAL,' said the sexual enhancement advertisement, but not anymore.

MyNicNaxs, a Florida company, nixed its ads because a federal court permanently enjoined it from selling unapproved and misbranded drugs. The U.S. Justice Department announced the court order after a receiving a request from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

"When a company fails to disclose pharmaceutical ingredients in its products, consumer safety can be put at risk," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler of the Justice Department's Civil Division. But what about the bull?

Georgia Must Pay $2.1 Million to Feds for Grant Fraud

A decade ago, the Georgia Department of Education won a federal grant for $10.7 million to help students at high-poverty, low-performing schools.

It was all good except for one thing: Georgia cheated when it distributed the grant. It held a competition to award the money to local organizations, but rigged the results.

Georgia agreed to pay back the federal government, but then asked a federal court for mercy in Georgia Department of Education v. United States Department of Education. It didn't work.

Court: Lawyer Led Trial Judge Astray in Winn-Dixie Case

How good is it when your lawyer can get a judge not to follow the law for you?

Not very good, according to a federal appeals court. While a BigLaw partner might have impressed his clients in the trial court, it backfired at the U.S Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

The appellate judges had ruled earlier in the case, and sent it back to the trial judge with instructions. The judge didn't follow them in Winn Dixie Stores v. Dolgencorp.

Judge Slams Clemency Board for Violating Ex-Felons' Voting Rights

Judge Mark Walker bent Florida's clemency board over his knee and gave it a spanking.

With a figurative flair, the federal judge said the board's arbitrary and "unfettered discretion" over felons' voting rights violates the Constitution. He compared it to a prison guard taking the key and swallowing it.

"Only when the state has digested and passed that key in the unforeseeable future, maybe in five years, maybe in 50 ... does the state, in an 'act of mercy' unlock the former felon's voting rights from its hiding place," he wrote in Hand v. Scott.

PETA Fails in Suit to Release Captive Orca

Lolita, the killer whale, will remain in captivity.

That's the decision of the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals v. Miami Seaquarium. The animal rights group and others claimed that Lolita should be freed under the Endangered Species Act.

The appeals court said PETA did not prove that captivity posed a serious threat to the whale. It will not be a sequel to "Free Willy."

White House Withdraws Nomination of Brett Talley

If you heard a big sucking sound out of Alabama, it was not just Roy Moore's loss in his bid for the U.S. Senate.

As President Trump was backing away from his controversial pick, the White House announced it would "not be moving forward" with Trump's nomination of an Alabama lawyer for a federal judgeship.

It had not looked good for attorney Brett J. Talley for a while. The American Bar Association had called him "unanimously" unqualified.

South Florida's Federal Bench to Be Reshaped by Trump

President Trump will reshape the court in the South District of Florida -- and that none too soon, according to some observers.

The Miami Herald says the "unprecedented" number of vacancies gives the President five seats to fill on a federal bench of 13, not including 10 senior judges in South Florida. The newspaper says the high number is rare.

Meanwhile, another report recently named Florida the No. 1 Judicial Hellhole in the country. The confirmation hearings should be interesting....

An Alabama Supreme Court decision from 2015 may have flown under the radar at the time it was issued, but then-Chief Justice Roy Moore's dissent is coming back to haunt the now-Republican Senate candidate.

The majority decision upheld the conviction of a 17-year-old child rapist (that was working at a daycare when he committed his crime) on one charge that required "forcible compulsion" to be proven. But Moore, alone out of the nine justices, dissented based upon a strict textualist approach that seemingly ignored the actual facts and court precedent.

As some commentators have noted, this case probably has less to do with Moore's own history, and more to do with his personal philosophy. Moore's dissenting opinion did not let the defendant off the hook for his crimes and shouldn't be used as evidence that Moore is soft on crime. In fact, one of the charges that resulted in a conviction and 20+ year sentence against the defendant was not even considered on appeal, so it's not like Moore was trying to get the guy out of jail.