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Transgender Military Battle Continues as 9th Cir. Hears Arguments

The legal battle over transgenders in the military is in the hands of a federal appeals court.

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals considered oral arguments in Karnoski v. Trump, which stems from President Trump's ban on transgenders serving in the armed forces. A trial judge blocked the president's plan, and the administration appealed.

The Ninth Circuit, which is expected to issue a decision in the next two months, is the first appeals court to hear arguments over the ban. No matter how the court rules, however, the war is far from over.

Court Says Anti-Terrorist Ads Can Go on Public Buses

A federal appeals court said an anti-Muslim group has a constitutional right to identify terrorists in advertisements on public buses.

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said King County, which had banned the ads, violated the First Amendment. The group wanted to place an ad with the names and faces of 16 alleged terrorists.

In American Freedom Defensive Initiative v. King County, the appeals court gave the plaintiffs a win in a First Amendment war. They needed it because they lost the last battle on the constitutional front.

9th Circuit Upholds Arizona Voting Laws

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Arizona laws against out-of-precinct voting and submitting ballots on behalf of others.

It was a setback for the Democratic National Committee, which argued the laws unfairly impacted minority voters. A divided appeals panel, however, said the laws imposed "only a minimal burden on voters."

It was much worse than that, said the dissent in The Democratic National Committee v. Reagan. The lone appellate judge said the only purpose of the laws was to discriminate against minorities.

When it comes to the hot-button topic of political fundraising, everyday individuals tend to be in agreement that there should be no secrets when it comes to the money politicians and political groups receive.

However, popular opinion does not create law and Citizens United happened. But in California, the Ninth Circuit just reversed a district court injunction and gave the state's Attorney General the power to see who the anonymous donors are behind the Koch brother-founded conservative advocacy group, Americans for Prosperity Foundation (which reportedly just founded the Super PAC American for Prosperity Action).

In a pair of recent panel decisions before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, major California gun-control legislation was upheld over challenges from special interest, gun advocacy groups.

One panel, as explained by Reuters, upheld a recent amendment to California's Gun-Free School Zone Act, prohibiting individuals with a concealed carry permit to have a gun on school grounds unless they are an active, off-duty, or retired peace officer (Case: Gallinger v. Becerra). The other panel upheld a short list of physical requirements gun manufacturers must meet in order to sell a new firearm in the state.

Court Greenlights Case Against San Jose Police for Riot Injuries

If you know the way to San Jose, maybe you also know the song that sold millions in the 1960s.

Dionne Warwick made "Do You Know the Way to San Jose?" famous on her way to her first Grammy and third Top Ten. She sang about how how great the city was -- but what a difference a generation makes.

If you go to San Jose today, you might run into police steering you into danger. That's what the plaintiffs say in Hernandez v. City of San Jose, a civil rights case that just got a green light from a federal appeals court.

For the school board members in the Chino Valley school district, the practice of opening meetings with a prayer has been ruled a violation of the Establishment Clause.

While the district and appellate court did recognize a "legislative tradition" of the use of opening prayers by governing bodies, the courts ruled that the school board meetings fell outside that tradition because students were encouraged to participate and attend.

Ninth Circuit: 2nd Amendment Protects Right to Carry Guns Openly for Defense

The U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to carry a gun openly in public, a federal appeals court ruled.

In Young v. State of Hawaii, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals joined five other federal circuit courts that have said the Second Amendment protects the right to carry a gun publicly for self-defense. The appeals court did not rule on concealed weapons.

With an increase in mass shootings, the rights of gun owners are more hotly debated than ever. The debate may finally make it to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The federal district court in San Francisco recently rejected the City of San Francisco and City of Oakland's lawsuit against several major oil companies. The cities vow that the case is not over, signaling a likely Ninth Circuit appeal.

The case claims that the oil companies produce and sell the oil with full knowledge that it is harming the environment, causing climate change and rising sea levels. The cities sought to hold the companies liable for the future damages that climate change is expected to bring about, particularly if nothing is done to change course. Though Judge Alsup dismissed the case, the ruling isn't all bad for environmental advocates.

Ninth Circuit Clears Mayor's Case Alleging Race-Based Voting Districts

While the U.S. Supreme Court weighed racial gerrymandering in Texas, a California city was caught up in a similar legal fight over voting districts.

A former mayor sued, claiming the City of Poway racially gerrymandered his voting district. It is unusual because the politician is white in a predominantly white town.

A federal judge dismissed the case, but now an appeals court has reversed in Higginson v. Becerra. It's not about minorities; it's about equal protection.