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Georgia Code Can't Be Copyrighted, 11th Circuit Rules

A federal appeals court said Georgia's annotated code cannot be copyrighted, which was not quite as settled a law as lawyers might think.

In Code Revision Commission v. Public Resource.Org, the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals said the law cannot be copyrighted because it belongs to the public. It was another victory for an open-law advocate who copied the entire state code and published it on the internet.

Carl Malamud, a regular thorn in the side of government, tweeted his victory dance with a song. Attorneys for the state of Georgia and at least one judge were not amused.

Paper Ballot Ruling in Georgia Appealed to 11th Circuit

Georgia officials are appealing a ruling for a lawsuit that alleges the state's electronic voting system is vulnerable to hackers.

In Curling v. Kemp, a federal judge said the state should implement a new, more secure electoral system. But she stopped short of ordering the state to use paper ballots to backup the system in the meantime.

According to experts in the case, the state's system is especially prone to attack because there is no paper trail to preserve votes. The U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals will decide whether that matters.

Court 'Begrudgingly' Strikes Alabama's Ban on Second-Trimester Abortions

If the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals had its way, abortion would be illegal.

At least that's what three judges of the appeals court seemed to say in West Alabama Women's Center v. Williamson. They affirmed a decision that gutted Alabama's ban on second-trimester abortions, but it wasn't easy for them.

They called the banned procedure "dismemberment abortion" because "it involves tearing apart and extracting piece-by-piece" the unborn fetus. Judge Joel Frederick Dubina, in a concurring opinion, said what the judges were really thinking: "Roe v. Wade has no basis in the Constitution." 

On July 31, Georgia Supreme Court judge Britt Grant was confirmed as the newest justice for the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals by a vote of 52 to 46.

Although she was just appointed to her seat on Georgia's highest court in 2017 by the state's governor, and has barely just gotten that bench warm, she'll soon be taking the place of Judge Julie Carnes, who only recently stepped down to senior status. Grant was nominated before Carnes even scooted off the bench, and probably would have been confirmed that soon too, if it wasn't for political in-fighting.

Website Accessibility Claim Against Hooters Revived

Dennis Haynes, who is blind and disabled, can navigate the internet using screen-reader software.

He wanted to read the Hooters website, but the website was not compatible with his software. He sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act to compel Hooters to make its website accessible to the visually impaired.

A trial judge dismissed, saying the case was moot because Hooters had already settled a similar suit that required the company to make similar accommodations. In Haynes v. Hooters of America, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals vacated and remanded.

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.