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Federal Judge OKs Challenge to Male-Only Draft

Women aren't suing for equal everything, like registering for the military draft.

But the National Coalition for Men wants to change all that. The organization sued, alleging that male-only mandatory enlistment discriminates against men, and a judge says the plaintiffs have a case.

However, they still have a long way to go in National Coalition of Men v. Selective Service System. They filed in 2013, and just got standing to proceed.

Judge Throws Out 'Clock Boy' Discrimination Case

Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old student, made a clock and took it to school.

But it looked like a bomb, his teacher said. The principal agreed and summoned police, who arrested the teenager.

It turned out to be a clock, but blew up in a media storm and an invitation to the White House for the baffled "clock boy." His parents sued unsuccessfully, apparently because there is no case for being smarter than your teacher.

It is no secret that the justice system tends to favor the wealthy. People with more money are better able to afford the cost of accessing justice. And it's not just paying the costs for private attorneys and experts in civil cases, in the criminal justice system simply being able to afford bail provides the wealthy with a significant privilege and advantage compared to those who can't afford any amount of bail.

The Fifth Circuit recently weighed in on the Harris County bail system which relies on fixed bail amounts for various charges, and which been recently been upended by a district court ruling that could have potential released many pretrial detainees. Both courts agreed and ruled the fixed bail amounts were unconstitutional as a result of due process and equal protection violations, but the circuit court had to reign in the lower court's order for going a bit too far.

The civil rights case of a man alleging a violation of his right to privacy against Verizon is notable for a couple reasons. But the Alexander v. Verizon matter might not be getting as much attention for the substantive part of the case, but rather for an interesting footnote.

First off, there is actually an interesting legal case that involves not-so-emerging technology and how it is now used by law enforcement, and whether service providers can be liable for bad police work.

Secondly, the case contains that rather loaded footnote discussing the great online debate of whether the word internet should be capitalized, or not, and when.

Texas Woman Wrongly Jailed Wins Appeal

Last week, FindLaw's Chris Coble covered the story of the Texas woman who is suing the county for being falsely accused and jailed. The story was among the week's most popular on social media for FindLaw's consumer audience. This means, if you are a lawyer, this is the kind of case potential clients are reading.

Jessica Jauch certainly needed a lawyer when she got out of jail.

Texas Ban on Sanctuary Cities Goes Forward

There's a shootout in Texas over sanctuary cities, and right now the new sheriff and his deputy are winning.

That sheriff would be U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and his Texas deputy would be state Attorney General Ken Paxton. Since President Trump took office, Sessions has been gunning for cities that refuse to cooperate with the President's new immigration policies.

The Texas legislature got behind Sessions and passed a law that penalizes the so-called sanctuary cities for non-compliance. A federal appeals court said, more or less, "that's pretty much the law, pardner."

The recent Texas voter ID laws that were blocked by a federal district court injunction have just had the enforcement of that order stayed pending the appeal, on the merits, by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. This means that the new voter ID laws will remain effective pending the resolution of the case, despite the district court issuing a permanent injunction enjoining their enforcement.

However, it is worth noting that the newest provision of the law, under the recently passed SB5, permits voters to submit actual ballots upon the signing of a declaration under the penalty of perjury. As the appellate court explained, this procedure nearly obviates the need for the injunctive relief requested as it supersedes SB14 and allows voters without ID to vote.

In a rare decision, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has vacated and remanded an order of a lower district keeping the documents showing the probable cause basis for a pre-indictment search warrant under seal. These decisions are usually upheld as appellate courts generally provide quite a bit of deference to the lower court's findings of fact.

The appellant in the matter, Justin Smith, was the subject of multiple searches, authorized by warrants. He sought to have the probable cause documents supporting the warrants unsealed in order to find out why. However, the district court refused. On appeal, the Fifth Circuit's rationale for vacating the order does not really touch the merits of the matter at all, but rather focuses on procedure, and surprisingly, finds the district court failed in their duty to write a good opinion.

Texas's voter identification law, widely viewed as one of the harshest in the country, was passed with a discriminatory purpose, a district court in Texas ruled yesterday. The ruling comes on remand from an en banc Fifth Circuit, which ruled last July that the law had a discriminatory effect, but sent the case back down to reconsider evidence going to whether the law was intended to discriminate. Yesterday, district court judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos answered, once again, "Yes, it was."

The ruling is particularly important, since a finding of discriminatory purpose could kill the voter ID law altogether and could constitute grounds for putting Texas under federal supervision.

Mississippi Can Keep Its Flag, 5th Cir. Rules

A federal appeals court rejected a black man's attempt to bring down Mississippi's flag, which features a Confederate battle ensign and enshrines the state's slave history.

Carlos Moore, an attorney, claimed the Confederate emblem violated his rights to Equal Protection. But the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal said he did not have standing to sue, even though he may have felt the stigma from the vestige of slavery in Moore v. Governor Dewey Phillip Bryant.

"Plaintiff's exposure to the Mississippi flag in courtrooms where he practices and his alleged physical injuries resulting from that exposure demonstrate that he strongly feels the stigmatic harm flowing from the flag," Judge Stephen Higginson wrote for the unanimous court.

However, the court explained, stigmatic injury is not injury-in-fact for standing purposes.