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Planned Parenthood Medicaid Coverage Slashed as Texas Wins Appeal

In a reversal against Planned Parenthood, a federal appeals court told a trial judge to take another look at evidence that the organization sold the tissue of aborted fetuses.

The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals sent the case back to the Texas judge, who had issued an injunction against state officials for trying to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood. The appeals court said the judge should reconsider whether the clinic's practices disqualified Planned Parenthood for Medicaid.

In Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Family Planning and Preventative Health Services v. Smith, videos revealed graphic discussions about the sale of liver, thymus and other neural tissue from second trimester abortions. Texas prohibits all of that.

'Deep Division' in Planned Parenthood Ruling

Facing a stalemate, a federal appeals court let stand a ruling that continues Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood in Louisiana.

The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals split 7-7 on whether to reconsider a decision in favor of Planned Parenthood. The organization, which provides abortion services, had sued after the former governor tried to block the funding.

In Planned Parenthood of Gulf Coast v. Gee, the en banc panel of judges divided sharply. The vote is a harbinger of more litigation in other states, but the court itself will change before that happens.

Stay in Miss. Gay Marriage Case; Arg. Consolidated With La., Tex.

A little more than a week after U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves struck down Mississippi's gay marriage ban, the Fifth Circuit propped it back up, albeit possibly temporarily.

Late last week, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay pending appeal to the state of Mississippi, allowing the state to continue to enforce its ban on gay marriage. However, the ban may not last long -- the court also consolidated the appeal with two others out of Louisiana and Texas, setting the oral argument showdown for all three states in early January.

Gay Marriage Comes to Mississippi -- Yes, That Mississippi

"If gay marriage can be legal in Mississippi, the whole country can feel hope."

True indeed, Jocelyn "Joce" Pritchett. Pritchett is one of the plaintiffs in the Mississippi gay marriage case, a federal case where a judge just struck down that state's same-sex marriage ban, reports The Associated Press.

The Mississippi decision is especially notable due to the people of Mississippi's opposition to same-sex marriage, an opinion that they have made "abundantly clear through every channel in which popular opinion can be voiced," U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves in Jackson, Mississippi wrote.

Federal District Court Upholds La.'s Same-Sex Marriage Ban

More than 30 federal courts have ruled against state bans on gay marriage since Windsor. Until today, federal courts unanimously agreed that such bans were unconstitutional, regardless of the level of scrutiny applied -- rational basis, intermediate, or strict scrutiny.

U.S. District Court Judge Martin Leach-Cross Feldman (a Reagan appointee) made note of the unanimity before straying from the course of his colleagues, noting, "It would no doubt be celebrated to be in the company of the near-unanimity of the many other federal courts that have spoken to this pressing issue, if this Court were confident in the belief that those cases provide a correct guide."

Applying the rational basis test, Judge Feldman held that Louisiana had two interests at stake: linking children to intact families formed by biological parents and "safeguarding that fundamental social change, in this instance, is better cultivated through democratic consensus."

Lambda Legal Appealing Fifth Circuit Decision in Adar v. Smith

Same-sex couples around the United States have a new reason to brush up on the Full Faith and Credit Clause. On Tuesday, Lambda Legal filed a writ of certiorari in Adar v. Smith, the same-sex adoption case in which the Fifth Circuit ruled that the Full Faith and Credit Clause applies only to state courts, not state government officials.

The case involves same-sex parents Oren Adar and Mickey Smith, who sought an updated birth certificate for their Louisiana-born son after adopting him in New York, in 2006. Despite a Louisiana law that requires a state official to make a new record reflecting adoptive parents’ names upon receipt of a certified adoption decree, Louisiana State Registrar Darlene Smith refused the request because Louisiana does not permit unmarried couples to adopt jointly.

Case Involving Garnishment of Community Property

US v. Loftis, No. 09-10482, concerned defendant's appeal from the district court's order of garnishment, which set aside a community property partition agreement entered into between defendant and her husband.  The court of appeals affirmed the order, on the grounds that 1) the partition agreement was clearly voidable as a fraudulent transfer under 28 U.S.C. section 3304(b)(1)(B)(ii); and 2) the district court was correct to treat the couple's assets as jointly managed property.

As the court wrote:  "Lisa Loftis ("Lisa") appeals the district court's Final Order of Garnishment, which set aside a community property partition agreement entered into between Lisa and her husband, Todd Loftis ("Todd"). She contends that the district court erroneously found the partition agreement to be a fraudulent transfer, and she challenges the scope of the garnishment ordered. We reject her arguments and affirm."

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