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

9th Circuit August 2011 News

Justice O'Connor to Hear Ninth Circuit Arguments in MT, Sept. 1

The University of Montana School of Law will celebrate its centennial anniversary this week with a judicially star-studded event.

Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor will sit with judges from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to hear arguments in a special session at the University of Montana Law School in Missoula, Mont. on September 1, 2011.

Ninth Circuit Hosting Remote Viewing Hearings Aug. 30, Sept. 1

If you're not shackled to your desk for the foreseeable future, you may be able to watch the proceedings in two high-profile Ninth Circuit cases from the comfort of your local federal courthouse. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will offer live, remote viewing this week in U.S. v. Jared Lee Loughner and Log Cabin Republicans v. United States.

The court will hear arguments in United States v. Loughner on Tuesday, August 30, 2011, beginning at 2 p.m. in Courtroom One of the James R. Browning U.S. Courthouse, 95 7 Street, San Francisco, California. The case involves the involuntary medication of Jared Lee Loughner, the accused gunman in the mass shooting earlier this year in Tucson, Ariz., that wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Loughner is currently being held in a federal prison.

Attorney Spouse Can Collect Fees in Civil Rights Lawsuit

Regardless of the lure of being featured in an Above the Law wedding post, there are plenty of reasons to avoid marrying a lawyer: We can be both overly precise and utterly evasive, we’re argumentative, and we work terrible hours.

One of the few obvious perks of marrying someone with an Esq. suffix is the free legal counsel. Now, following a Ninth Circuit decision last week, that free legal counsel can also yield attorney’s fees awards to supplement a couple’s joint income.

James Corbett Has Qualified Immunity in Establishment Clause Claim

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Friday that a teacher who made allegedly hostile comments about religion in the classroom has qualified immunity from a student's Establishment Clause violation lawsuit.

In the case, Chad Farnan, a former public high school student alleged that his history teacher, Dr. James Corbett, violated his rights under the Establishment Clause by making comments during an Advanced Placement European History class (AP Euro) that were hostile to religion in general, and to Christianity in particular.

Corbett, who aimed to create provocative historical discussions in his classroom, told his students that he encouraged a "full range of views," and that students' comments would not impact his attitude toward them or their grades.

Officer has Qualified Immunity from Search Warrant Suit

The Ninth Circuit, for all of its progressive leanings, remains a nostalgic lot. Circuit judges have yet to exchange their traditional robes for more slimming looks, and, notably, still subscribe to the quaint notion that police officers must support their affidavits for search warrants with probable cause.

This week, the Ninth Circuit considered the issue of police officers' qualified immunity in seizing evidence with a lawfully, fully executed (but invalid) search warrant, while reiterating that a police officer's intuition is not probable cause for a search warrant.

Nevada Inmates Lose Typewriter Ban Appeal

In his 1839 play Richelieu, Edward Bulwer-Lytton wrote that "the pen is mightier than the sword." It seems that Nevada inmates at Ely State Prison (ESP) took their cues from Richelieu and started using their typewriters as weapons to attack correctional officers and fellow inmates.

Not surprisingly, the Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC) responded by adopting a prison rule banning typewriters at ESP. Inmates who possessed typewriters had the option of shipping the typewriters out of the prison, donating the typewriters to charity, or having the typewriters destroyed.

The inmates, understandably upset at the prospect of losing their typewriters, sued. The district court ruled in favor of the NDOC, holding that it could implement a prison rule declaring typewriters unauthorized property and that the ban was constitutional. The Ninth Circuit affirmed.

Individual Mandate Challenge Dismissed for Lack of Standing

The Ninth Circuit removed itself from the Affordable Care Act constitutionality debate on Friday.

A three-judge panel upheld the district court's decision in the case, finding that plaintiff Steve Baldwin and the Pacific Justice Institute lacked standing to bring their claim. Baldwin objected to the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act, but neglected to allege that he does not have qualifying health insurance or that he will not have it in 2014.

Ninth Cir. Serves Specific Jurisdiction With Side of Black Eyed Peas

This case is a jurisdiction doozy.

Brand, an Ohio corporation, operates a popular website called celebrity-gossip.net, which asks the tough questions like, "Is Robert Pattinson the sexiest man on the planet?" The site is consistently robbed of journalistic accolades for its hard-hitting reporting on stories like, "Shiloh Jolie-Pitt named most influential infant."

Mavrix is a celebrity photo agency, (read: paparazzi machine), that shoots, sells, and licenses celebrity photographs. It is based in Florida.

Blue Lake Rancheria is Common-Law Employer Under FUTA

Mainstay Business Solutions won its case in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals under the Federal Unemployment Tax Act this week, but the victory is too little, too late. The company was forced to close in April as a result of an ongoing dispute with the California Economic Development Department (EDD).

Blue Lake Rancheria, a 53-member, federally recognized Indian tribe located in Humboldt County established Mainstay Business Solutions, a staffing firm, in May 2003 as a for-profit business owned by, and operated for the benefit of, the Tribe.

Five Things to Know About Ninth Circuit Rules for Phones

Here at FindLaw, we understand the pressures of being a legal professional - most of us are recovering lawyers - so we want to help by tossing you that preferred life preserver of the legal profession, the short list.

Today's topic: Ninth Circuit Rules for Phones and Other Electronic Devices.

The Ninth Circuit is often recognized as progressive court, so it stands to reason that - unlike airlines - Ninth Circuit rules on electronic devices would also be progressive. While some courthouses ban phones altogether, the Ninth Circuit understands that we live in a digital age. Here's what you should know about the Ninth Circuit's electronic device policy.

Federal Clerkship Application Period Looms

Want to get one of those magical Supreme Court clerkships? The first step is usually a federal clerkship. If you're a 3L with an eye on federal clerkship greatness, you're in luck: we have all the details for the Federal Judges Law Clerk Hiring Plan.

First things first: the clerkship application period. Judging from the fact that the hiring plan states three times that no applications or materials should be submitted to the circuit before September 6, 2011, we suspect they mean it.

Perfect 10 Injunction Against Google Thumbnails Hard to Come By

Perfect 10, purveyor of copyright lawsuits and internet nudity, has been thwarted in yet another claim against Google for copyright infringement.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to grant Perfect 10's request for a preliminary injunction on Wednesday because the skin site had failed to demonstrate irreparable harm in its claim against the Internet giant.

Five Things to Know About Ninth Circuit Electronic Case Filing

Here at FindLaw, we understand the pressures of being a legal professional - most of us are recovering lawyers - so we want to help by tossing you that preferred life preserver of the legal profession, the short list.

Today's topic: Electronic Case Filing. If you're new to the Ninth Circuit, you need to acquaint yourself with ECF; it's not just encouraged, it's mandatory.