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

February 2016 Archives

Maryland's Assault Weapon Ban Deserves Strict Scrutiny, 4th Cir. Rules

In a 2-1 decision, the Fourth Circuit vacated a ruling by a Maryland district court which held that the Firearms Safety Act of 2013 was constitutional under the erroneously applied standard of intermediate review. The case, Kolbe v. Hogan, has been sent back to the lower district court for another round under the more exacting strict scrutiny standard.

This practically ensures that the portion of the law banning assault weapons and large capacity magazines will be found unconstitutional. Compare this result to the recently decided Highland Park decision in the Second Circuit. NRA-ILA and other interested groups have been celebrating the Fourth Circuit's decision.

Payday loans tend to be exploitative. Tribal payday loans tend to be really exploitative, since those quick cash advances can be made outside the restrictions placed on non-tribal lenders. That means payday loans with annual percentage rates of over 500 percent in some of the worst cases.

This case isn't about the legality of the usurious loans themselves, however. It's about the allegedly illegal practices used to collect on borrowers' debts. And those borrowers are finally getting some good news -- their ability to bring suit challenging debt collection practices is not limited by their loan agreements' arbitration clause, the Fourth Circuit ruled last Tuesday, holding that arbitration agreements cannot categorically reject the "requirements of state and federal law."