U.S. Fourth Circuit - The FindLaw 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

November 2012 Archives

SCOTUS Says No to 'Dollar Bill' Jefferson Appeal

Many Harvard Law graduates dream of appearing before the Supreme Court. Former Louisiana Congressman William “Bill” Jefferson shared that dream with his HLS peers, albeit for a different reason: Jefferson hoped that the Court might vacate his 13-year prison sentence for corruption.

This week, the Nine declined to hear Jefferson’s appeal, laying that dream to rest, the Times-Picayune reports.

SCOTUS Sends Liberty Back to Fourth Circuit

Affordable Care Act litigation is a lot like Ghostface in the Scream movies. At the end of each film, you think that you have closure. Then another Scream comes along, proving you wrong.

That's pretty much what we have today with the Supreme Court's decision to remand Liberty University's employer mandate and contraceptive coverage mandate challenges: You may have thought the Court's healthcare decision in June signaled the end of ACA litigation until 2014.

You were mistaken.

For 50 Cents a Month, You Too Can Materially Support Terrorism!

In light of the upcoming holiday, it is important to take a moment and express thanks for things that bring us joy. Today, this blogger is thankful for unintentionally hilarious court opinions.

Adriano de Almeda Viegas is, according to the Fourth Circuit, a member of, and provided financial support to, a terrorist organization. He also entered the country using a forged French passport. It is unsurprising then that he is being sent back to Angola, his native country.

U.S. v. Hamilton: Stolen Valor and Defrauding the VA - Part II

Yesterday, we introduced you to PFC Hamilton, who was convicted of theft of benefits from the Veterans Affairs and of wearing medals and ranks not issued to him. Today, we discuss the constitutionality of the Stolen Valor Act.

In 2010, Hamilton posed as a Colonel, in full dress blues, with two Navy Crosses, four Silver Stars, one Bronze Star, and seven Purple Hearts, while giving a speech at a Vietnam Veterans' Recognition Ceremony. This was his fourth known attempt to display a rank or insignia not awarded to him.

US v. Hamilton: Stolen Valor and Defrauding the VA - Part I

But, didn't the SCOTUS just address Stolen Valor?

They did, but as many a government body tends to do, they only dealt in half-measures. The entire statute popularly referred to as the Stolen Valor Act consisted of multiple parts. One part, addressed in Alvarez by SCOTUS, barred verbal claims of receiving military medals and commendations. You will recall Alvarez was convicted after making verbal boasts about receiving the Medal of Honor.

90 Days to File Forfeiture: SOL or Jurisdictional Prereq?

Be forewarned: the following discussion of civil asset forfeiture, statutes of limitations, and subject matter jurisdiction is so inherently intriguing that it may present a hazard to your health.

Donald Wilson is a drug trafficker. It's not much of a profession, but he made a living, at least until the feds stepped in. Adding insult to injury, the government filed a civil forfeiture proceeding against $13,963 that was seized from Wilson in October 2006. Unfortunately for all of us, they filed their action late, leading to years of litigation over the funds.

Real Recognize REAL: 4th Circuit Uses REAL ID Credibility Standard

What's the measure of a man's credibility? Prior to the implementation of the REAL ID Act in 2005, a person's credibility in an INS hearing was based only on statements that went to the heart of the matter. This meant when the applicant or witness complimented your tie, or fudged their age or weight, it only mattered if it was innately related to the applicant's claim.

The REAL ID Act follows the hip hop credo of "real recognizes real." Whether a person is dishonest about tangential matters or the crux of the claim, a liar is a liar, at least according to the new standard . The Fourth Circuit labeled this as "common sense" when it adopted it in this week's decision in Singh v. Holder. They also noted that the First, Second, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits have all adopted the new standard as well.

Obamacare Headed Back to Fourth Circuit for Religious Challenge

We should've known that the decision upholding Obamacare by the nation's highest court wouldn't be the end of the battle. Back in 2011, Liberty University, a Christian college located in Lynchburg, Virginia, challenged the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on religious freedom and equal protection grounds.

The Fourth Circuit dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction because the federal tax Anti-Injunction Act banned lawsuits seeking to halt a tax.