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The President and fellow Republicans repealed the "individual mandate" of the Affordable Care Act that requires Americans to have health insurance or pay a fine.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

Texas Executes 3rd Man of 2018

As lawyers scrambled to save his life, John David Battaglia prepared to die.

The attorneys asked any court that would listen to arguments that Battaglia was delusional, mentally incompetent, and shouldn't be executed for fatally shooting his two young daughters. They were nine and six years old.

The last-minute appeals didn't work. They usually don't in Texas.

Judge Edward Prado of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals was recently nominated by President Trump to serve as the ambassador to Argentina. And while the official ambassador position has been vacant for nearly a year, if Prado is confirmed (which is highly anticipated), it will create a new vacancy on the Fifth Circuit.

Recently, Trump was able to fill two open seats on that bench with the appointments of Justices James Ho and Don Willett. And by making an appointment from that bench, he might just get the chance to put another jurist there.

Justice Don Willett, the Texas Tweeter Laureate, may be a favorite of appellate lawyer Twitter (which, yes, appellate Twitter is a thing), but if the numbers are any indication, his popularity among Senators fell along strict party lines. The 50 to 47 vote went his way, but just barely.

Both Justice Willett, and James Ho, were nominated to seats on the Fifth Circuit, and this week, both had their nominations confirmed. Interestingly, Ho seemed to garner more partisan support than the social media savvy Willett. The Senate voted Ho in 53 to 43.

The Texas Twitter Laureate, and Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals nominee, Justice Don Willett, found himself in the hot seat during his Senate confirmation hearing due to his large social media following. However, it was not just the following that drew scrutiny, but also the content of a handful of his past tweets, as well as his future social media plans (if confirmed).

After the nomination, Willett basically signed off Twitter and has only tweeted once since his nomination to the Fifth Circuit bench. The last tweet, just posted last week after a month and a half of Twitter-silence, was a famous Calvin Coolidge quote paired with a rather judicial, yet seemingly stock, image of the Constitution laid out over a U.S. flag: "To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race." While inspirational, it certainly deviates from his past focus of making light of life and the justice system.

Mississippi Federal Judge Excused From New Civil Cases Amid Backlog

Judge Henry T. Wingate has been on the federal bench for more than 30 years.

When he was appointed, it was a different world. The Soviet Union still existed. Al Gore hadn't invented the internet.

Maybe that's why the judge started to have a problem with his case backlog -- his staff didn't have computers.