U.S. Fifth Circuit - The FindLaw 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

February 2012 Archives

Don't Mess With Texas ... University Affirmative Action?

Until the 24-hour news stations ratchet up the individual mandate discussions before the Affordable Care Act arguments in March, the university affirmative action review will be the talk of the legal community.

Last week, the Supreme Court voted to review Fisher v. University of Texas, a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision upholding a race-based admissions policy at the University of Texas (UT). Now, the Internet is buzzing with questions over whether the Nine will end university affirmative action 14 years before the soft deadline retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor set in her 2003 Grutter v. Bollinger opinion.

Fifth Circuit Law Schools Make Best Bar Passage Rate List

Law school isn't the certain path to financial stability and happiness that our parents believed it would be. Increasing numbers of law school grads are discovering that a life of discovery isn't all that it's cracked up to be, and leaving billables behind for greener pastures -- even if it means less green in the bank.

But before making a decision to quit practicing, a lawyer has to start practicing law, which means passing the bar.

The National Jurist, a publication that describes itself as "the voice of legal education," recently released its list of the top 50 best schools for bar exam preparation. Interestingly, all three Fifth Circuit states have schools on the list, and Louisiana State University's Paul M. Hebert Law Center is ranked first.

Kingmaker or Clown? Texas Redistricting Turmoil Continues

Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals judge Jerry Smith indicated yesterday that the Texas primary election scheduled for April 3 will likely be delayed because the Texas redistricting map conflict has not been resolved, reports The New York Times. While a new date has not been set, the court asked the Democratic and Republican parties to propose new candidate filing periods for a May 29 primary.

As the primary date continues to move, Texas could either become a kingmaker, or completely irrelevant in the Republican nominating process.

Use of Deadly Force Against Suicidal Teen Was 'Reasonable'

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld summary judgment in favor of a Texas city this week, finding that a police officer's use of deadly force against an armed, suicidal teenager did not amount to excessive force.

The facts in the case were undisputed. Alicia Elizondo awoke to hear her 17-year-old son, Ruddy, crying. She went to check on him and found him holding a knife to his abdomen. Ruddy had attempted suicide by stabbing himself just over a month earlier. Alicia began to cry and plead with Ruddy, and tried to take the knife away. The commotion woke Ruddy's sister, who called 911 because she was afraid Ruddy might hurt their mother.

Fifth Circuit Denies Texas Sonogram Law En Banc Rehearing

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals denied en banc rehearing this morning in the Texas sonogram bill lawsuit, reports The Washington Post.

The Texas sonogram law, which became effective this week over the protestations of U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks, requires a doctor to perform a sonogram on a woman requesting an abortion at least 24 hours before the procedure, describe the unborn child, and list agencies that offer alternatives to abortion.

Judge Sparks Criticizes 5th Cir As Texas Sonogram Law Takes Effect

There are approximately 80,000 abortions in Texas each year, according to the Houston Chronicle. With this week’s implementation of the new Texas sonogram law, there will be approximately 80,000 additional sonograms in the state.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks’ temporary order blocking enforcement of Texas H.B. 15, last month after deciding that the law would likely survive constitutional review in a federal district court.

Texting, Touching Credible Evidence in Same-Sex Harassment Lawsuit

When a supervisor sends a subordinate texts like “ur 2 sexy,” a company should either reprimand the supervisor, or prepare to pay in a sexual harassment lawsuit. The defendant in today’s Fifth Circuit appeal chose the latter.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled in favor of an employee who brought a same-sex sexual harassment lawsuit against his employer, finding that the evidence supported the employee’s claim that he was sexually harassed and that his employer failed to promptly respond to the situation.