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9th Circuit June 2012 News

Stolen Valor: Military Lies Don't Make You a Criminal, Just a Jerk

The Supreme Court affirmed the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and struck down the Stolen Valor Act on Thursday in a 6-3 decision.

Justice Anthony Kennedy kicked off the plurality opinion for the Court with the best opener of the 2011 Term: "Lying was his habit. Xavier Alvarez, the respondent here, lied when he said that he played hockey for the Detroit Red Wings and that he once married a starlet from Mexico."

Despite Justice Kennedy's very public swipe at Alvarez's tale-telling ways, the Court ultimately ruled in the faux-military-man's favor.

9th Cir: Builders Can Spend More, So Homeowners Can Spend More

Federal law may preempt the State of Arizona from enacting most of the key components of its famously-tough immigration law, but it won't keep the State of Washington from promoting tough state energy standards in new building construction.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Monday that the state's new building code, which requires a 15 percent reduction in annual net energy consumption for new construction, was not preempted by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), reports Courthouse News Service. This is the first appellate case to consider EPCA's preemption-exemption provision.

Hope Remains for Mount Soledad Cross Supporters Despite Denial

The Supreme Court denied review of the Mount Soledad cross dispute on Monday, but it left the door open for further judicial review -- and Establishment Clause clarification -- pending a final judgment on the fate of the cross.

Justice Samuel Alito issued a statement in today's orders, explaining that, while he agreed with the Court's decision to deny certiorari in the matter, it was only because the case was not yet ripe for Supreme Court review.

Will Executive Privilege Foil the Brian Terry Lawsuit?

Operation Fast and Furious is one of the all-time best botched-government-operation titles. How can you not appreciate a mission that invokes Vin Diesel?

But Congressional investigations and tort claims stemming from the Operation could be on hold: Wednesday morning, President Obama invoked executive privilege over thousands of pages of government documents detailing the scheme, reports The Washington Post.

Cotterman v. U.S.: Live-Blogging the Border Search Doctrine Appeal

Update 10: (June 19, 3:20 p.m.) Should the Government be able to look for any evidence of crime in a CBP search? Corbin says the customs agents should be able to look for any kind of contraband which is not admissible into the country, which could potentially include intellectual property contraband.

What is required to lawfully conduct an extended border search? Corbin says reasonable suspicion is necessary for an extended border search, but the facts of this case do not match those of an extended border search. Corbin said that this case is distinguished because Howard Cotterman had cleared customs, but his laptops had not.

And that’s it for the arguments. Thanks for following. We’ll update you on the outcome when the Ninth Circuit renders its opinion.

Family Can Sue for Wrongful Raid Under Tort Claims Act

On a January morning in 2007, the Avina family was asleep in a mobile home when Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents approached the front door, armed with a search warrant. The agents banged loudly on the door and yelled “police.” They waited briefly, and then used a battering ram to break through the front door. The agents entered the Avinas’ home with their guns drawn.

The agents were actually looking for suspected drug trafficker Luis Alvarez, but they accidentally got a warrant for the Avina residence due to a note-taking error.

Ninth Circuit to Telecast En Banc Hearings June 19-21

Much like meetings of the Knights of the Round Table or the Jedi Council, Ninth Circuit en banc hearings are a rare and special occurrence.

Approximately 20 Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals cases receive en banc hearings each year; the court will hear 6 of those cases from June 19-21 at the Richard H. Chambers U.S. Courthouse in Pasadena, California. But even if you can't make it to Pasadena, you may be able to catch a live telecast at a courthouse near you.

Andrew Hurwitz Confirmed for Ninth Circuit

Arizona Supreme Court Justice Andrew Hurwitz was confirmed for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday in a voice vote, reports The Associated Press.

Though Justice Hurwitz had support from Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl, (his Republican, home-state senators) many Senate Republicans were opposed to his nomination because Hurwitz had expressed admiration for the Roe v. Wade reasoning in a 2002 law review article, reports Politico. Sen. Chuck Grassley noted, “I think by any fair measure, it is impossible to read Justice Hurwitz's article and not conclude that he wholeheartedly embraces Roe, and importantly, the constitutional arguments that supposedly support it.”

Ninth Cir to Reconsider Veoh Based on Viacom-YouTube Litigation?

We've always viewed the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals as more of a leader than a follower, but it looks like the San Francisco-based appellate court may follow the Second Circuit's lead in the Viacom-YouTube litigation.

The Ninth Circuit Court might "re-examine" the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) copyright infringement safe harbor standards, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The Ninth Circuit ruled last year in UMG vs. Veoh, a case dealing with user-uploaded music videos, that YouTube-style video-sharing website was protected under the safe harbor provision.

Will Ninth Circuit Grant Media Access to Idaho Executions?

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments Thursday in Associated Press et. al. v. Otter, an appeal seeking full viewing access to Idaho executions.

The lawsuit claims that Idaho’s regulations preventing witnesses — including reporters — from watching executions until after catheters have been inserted into the veins of death row inmates is overly restrictive, reports The Associated Press.

SCOTUS Bound: Ninth Circuit Denies Prop 8 Rehearing

Marriage equality could be heading to the Supreme Court.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals announced on Tuesday that it has denied en banc rehearing in Perry v. Brown, the case challenging the constitutionality of California Proposition 8. The ballot initiative, approved by California voters in 2008, banned same-sex marriage in the Golden State, setting off years of litigation.

And the litigation isn't over yet.

Morgan Christen: First Female Judge from the Last Frontier

It has been a week of firsts for female jurists from sparsely-populated states.

On Tuesday, Stephanie Thacker was sworn in as the first female judge from West Virginia to serve on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Wednesday, it was Alaska's turn for the spotlight.