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

9th Circuit December 2016 News

The Second Amendment, a Ninth Circuit panel ruled in a 2-1 decision last May, protects not just the right to bear arms for self-defense, but the "right to acquire weapons for self-defense." The ruling came after a challenge to an Alameda County zoning law that allegedly barred all new gun stores in unincorporated areas. It meant that gun store regulations could be subjected to Second Amendment scrutiny, requiring the government to provide a strong public-safety justification for such restrictions.

Now, the circuit has agreed to rehear that case, Teixeira v. County of Alameda, en banc. Yesterday, a majority of Ninth Circuit judges voted to vacate the panel decision and rehear the case before an 11-judge panel.

A federal appeals court ruled the California legislature wrongly carved out a law to help workers' unions in lawsuits against their employers.

In a final order to elaborate its earlier decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals explained that the Legislature passed a "safe harbor" provision in Assembly Bill 1513 to gain the support of the the United Farm Workers of America. The UFW was engaged in litigation against one the plaintiffs at the time, and the safe harbor provision denied them a defense in the case.

"The only reason the carve-outs were included in the final bill was to procure the support of the UFW," the court said in upholding an Equal Protection claim while rejecting a Bill of Attainder claim. "A law making a defendant ineligible to assert an affirmative defense in a civil lawsuit simply does not fit within that category of legislative action."

The Ninth Circuit upheld California's 10-day 'cool down' period for gun purchasers last week. Under that law, all purchasers must wait for their guns, even if they have previously purchased a firearm or have cleared a background check in under 10 days.

Even then, a 10-day wait is not a violation of buyers' Second Amendment rights, the court explained, since requiring a waiting period is "a reasonable safety precaution for all purchasers of firearms," the court ruled.

Some of California's leading judges and attorneys are coming together for an exceptional CLE event this February. Civil Litigation Challenges: Excelling in the "Big League," presented by The Rutter Group and the California Judges Association (disclosure: The Rutter Group is part of Thomson Reuters, FindLaw's parent company), will feature a California Supreme Court justice, multiple superior and appellate court judges, lawyers from the nation's leading firms, and everyone's favorite law school dean and legal scholar, Erwin Chemerinsky.

It's a rare opportunity to learn from -- and rub elbows with -- some of the West Coast's top legal minds.

Appeals Court On Board for New Underground Rail in L.A.

A new underground light-rail will move on down the track near Little Tokyo in Los Angeles, following a federal appeals court decision.

The Ninth Circuit upheld a district court decision turning down complaints that the proposed Metro rail system would disrupt business and harm the environment. The justices unanimously ruled that local and federal agencies had complied with environmental standards in reviewing the plan, including the choice to dig and then cover the tunnel that had been temporarily enjoined by the trial judge.

"Compared to the cut and cover method, tunnel boring is far less disruptive to surface traffic and adjacent land uses," the appeals court said in the case brought by Japanese Village Plaza and Westin Bonaventure Hotel. However, the court ruled the agencies were not "arbitrary and capricious in rejecting the tunnel boring method."

Bee advocates, environmentalists, and farmers suffered a stinging defeat in federal court last week, when the District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that EPA guidance over pesticide-coated seeds is not subject to legal review.

Bees are currently suffering unprecedented die offs, with beekeepers losing 44 percent of their bees last year. Some have pointed to neonicotinoid pesticides as a likely contributor to the deaths. Those same pesticides are often applied directly to seeds, a practice the EPA generally exempts from normal pesticide regulations. Recent guidance to that effect, given to EPA inspectors, led the apiarists and others to sue, arguing that the guidance qualified as unlawful agency action under the Administrative Procedures Act.