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Judge Strikes Indian Child Welfare Act

Judge Reed Charles O'Connor, a federal judge in Texas, is not afraid of Indians.

Staring down centuries of Native American sovereignty, the judge stuck down the Indian Child Welfare Act. He said the 40-year-old legislation that favors tribal rights in adoption proceedings is unconstitutional.

Native American advocates were stunned by the decision. There will be an appeal.

Texas Veterinarian Sues to Give Pet Advice Online

Maybe you heard this song before, but there's a veterinarian who would talk to the animals if he could.

At age 75, Dr. Ronald Hines is an old-school practitioner with a modern approach. He gives pet advice online.

At least he did until Texas shut him down. Now he's suing for his right to free speech -- again.

Court Strikes Louisiana's 'Don't-Threaten-to-Sue' Law

You couldn't threaten to sue a police officer in Louisiana, and that was a problem.

In Seals v. McBee, the problem was the state's law against intimidating threats. The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals said it was unconstitutional because it banned too many types of threats.

The appeals panel said the statute could criminalize boycotts, lawsuits, and other legally protected speech. You can't yell "fire" in a crowded theater, either, but that's another story.

5th Circuit Nominee Andrew Oldham Approved -- Just Barely

The Senate confirmed Andrew Oldham to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals by one vote, 50-49.

But sometimes one vote is all it takes to change everything. For the Trump administration, the latest appointment is one more step in an overhaul of the federal judiciary.

With Oldham, Trump has put three judges on the Fifth Circuit and a total of 44 nominees on the federal bench around the country. With another coming to the U.S. Supreme Court, the approval process is getting much more political.

Judges Feuding Over Texas Fetal Burial Case

Trial judges and appeals courts have disagreements all the time. Of course, the appellate court almost always wins.

On occasion, a trial court will be vindicated by a superseding opinion from a court of last resort. Once in a Texas moon, however, trial judges and appellate judges will feud till the cows come home.

That's what's happening in a federal circuit right now in Whole Woman's Health v. Smith. This time, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals started it.

Fifth Circuit Ends 'Straw Vote' Election Controversy

Drawing straws is no way to sort out an election, but that's what they did to break a tie for a legislative seat in Mississippi.

The proper way to resolve disputes in most of America is to sue. They did that, too, in the contest between Bo Eaton and Mark Tullos.

The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals finally settled the matter, ruling the federal courts have no jurisdiction to intervene in such state elections. Fortunately for a scant majority of voters, the election is finally over.

Johnson & Johnson Wins Reversal of Hip Replacement Verdict

Reversing a $151 million judgment, a federal appeals court said Johnson & Johnson deserved a new trial over metal-on-metal hip replacements.

The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed on various grounds, but emphasized tainted evidence and "unequivocally deceptive" trial tactics. The appeals court said the plaintiffs' attorney misled jurors by saying his expert witnesses were unpaid and the defense experts were "bought testimony."

The problem in Christopher v. DePuy Orthopaedics, the appeals court said, was the plaintiffs' lawyer paid the experts after the trial. That, and the judge allowed "inflammatory character evidence" against the company.

Twenty States Sue to Finish Off Obamacare

President Trump took out Obamacare's tax penalty for individuals who don't have health insurance, but attorneys general across the country want to kill off the rest of the health insurance legislation.

The President and fellow Republicans repealed the "individual mandate" of the Affordable Care Act that requires Americans to have health insurance or pay a fine. The mandate will expire in 2019.

In the meantime, 20 states have sued to undo the entire act. They say that without the mandate, Obamacare is unlawful.

Trump's Latest Nomination for 5th Circuit: Andy Oldham

Andy Oldham barely had time to decorate his office when President Trump nominated him to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Oldham was just named general counsel by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Jan. 2, when the President came calling a month later. It may be a bit of a rush for the nominee, but changes have been coming to the appeals court for a while.

It is Trump's third nominee to the Fifth Circuit since he took office, and they all came from Texas. That's good and bad news, depending on how you look at it.

5th Cir. Considers Minimum Age for Exotic Dancers

Just in time for Mardi Gras, a state appeals court is considering whether young women may bare their breasts in Louisiana.

But revelers shouldn't worry about flashing for beads along the streets of New Orleans during the annual carnival. The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is focused on nude entertainers there.

Louisiana passed a law that prohibits women under age 21 from stripping. A trial judge said the law was unconstitutional, but the appeals court justices are taking another look.