U.S. Ninth Circuit - The FindLaw 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog


Special Prosecutor Will Oppose Arpaio in Pardon Case

President Trump pardoned Joe Arpaio last year, but his case is far from over.

Although Arpaio was pardoned for contempt of court, he is appealing because the trial judge refused to vacate the conviction. Judge Susan Bolton said the pardon spared him the punishment, but not the record.

In United States of America v. Arpaio, a divided U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has appointed a special prosecutor to oppose the former sheriff. The majority and dissenting opinions seem to agree on one thing, however: the government is broken.

The Regents of the University of California succeeding in having a three year old Title IX case dismissed on summary judgment. Although the facts of the case are wildly disturbing, the federal district court found that the circumstances surrounding the sexual misconduct were so far out of the control of the university that it could not be held liable.

But before y'all go grab the pitchforks and start marching on the Berkeley administration buildings, the facts rather strongly support the dismissal on summary judgment.

Artists Return to Royalty Battle in 9th Circuit

Angrily, an artist shoved and yelled at the man who had bought his painting.

Robert Rauschenberg was upset because the buyer later sold it at auction for nearly 10,000 percent more than he paid. "I didn't work so hard for you to make that profit!" the artist famously declared.

The incident inspired the California Resale Royalties Act, which requires sellers to pay visual artists five percent of any profit from resale. The artists are suing for those payments in a case before the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals -- again.

The now infamous website Backpage.com has been shut down by federal authorities and the federal criminal indictment filed in Arizona's district court against the site, its founders, and others has been unsealed. The allegations and details are unsettling to say the least.

Despite the founders allegedly divesting in 2015, it was alleged that they still retained "significant control." The charges include allegations of seventeen victims ranging from adults to minors. In addition to charges for knowingly facilitating prostitution, the founders are also accused of money laundering. There are a total of 93 counts, and the government alleges that Backpage.com earned over $500 million in prostitution related advertising since 2004.

Court: Prior Salary Can't Justify Lower Pay for Women

A federal appeals court ruled that employers may not pay women less than men based on prior salaries when hiring for the same job.

The decision was a turnaround for the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which last year ruled that employers could consider salary history in hiring. But the full court stepped over that decision by a three-judge panel, and also reversed its own ruling in a related case more than 35 years ago.

It is a significant opinion, in part because it was penned by Judge Stephen Reinhardt before he died last month. The "liberal lion" spared no one in thrashing a history of unequal pay for women.

Ninth Circuit Burns Pot Growers in California Case

Talk about a buzz kill.

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals gave the go-ahead to prosecute marijuana growers in California, where voters approved recreational pot nearly two years ago. It's been legal to use medical marijuana in the Golden State for more than a decade.

But that's not important right now, the appeals court said in United States of America v. Gilmore and a companion case. Federal law trumps state law in more ways than one.

Court: Government Must Protect Salmon, Steelhead

Migrating salmon will breathe easier this spring, thanks to a federal appeals court.

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal affirmed orders that government-operated dams release more water on the Columbia and Snake rivers to help endangered salmon and steelhead. It was a win for environmentalists who claim the dam operations have been killing off the species for years.

The decision in National Wildlife Federation v. National Marine Fisheries Service was also good news for the fish. At least until fishing season.

The House Loses at Churchill Downs Virtual Casino

It was a classic case of illegal gambling, and it began with a classic movie line:

"I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!" Captain Renault proclaimed in "Casablanca."

So quoted the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in finding that Churchill Downs has been running more than fast horses. Only the court was not surprised there was an illegal gambling operation at the track's "Big Fish Casino."

'Liberal Lion' Judge Reinhardt Passes

Judge Stephen Reinhardt, a prominent liberal judge of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, has died.

Appointed by President Carter 37 years ago, Reinhardt died unexpectedly when he suffered a heart attack at his dermatologist's office. He was 87.

Fellow jurists said he was "deeply principled, fiercely passionate" about his work. Judge Sidney R. Thomas, chief judge of the Ninth Circuit, said they lost a friend and a colleague.

PragerU's Censorship Lawsuit Against YouTube Tossed by Federal Judge

Dennis Prager, the conservative talk show host, talks too much.

That's more or less what YouTube said when it shut down videos by Prager University, which is not a school but a podium for conservative views. Apparently offended, the "university" sued for violation of free speech and moved for a preliminary injunction.

A federal judge told Prager to shut up. Not really, but sort of. Here's what the court actually said in Prager University v. Google: