U.S. Seventh Circuit - The FindLaw 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

September 2014 News

Springfield, Ill.'s Panhandling Ban Is Constitutional: 7th Cir.

An ordinance in Springfield, Illinois, prohibits panhandling in the historic downtown shopping district. The ordinance is specific in that panhandling is an oral request for money right now -- not an immediate request for money via a sign or an oral request for money at a later date.

Don Norton and Karen Otterson are panhandlers who've been arrested numerous times for violating the ordinance. On appeal to the Seventh Circuit, they claimed that the ordinance infringed on their First Amendment rights.

7th Cir. Gets Fed. Court Out of Wis. Campaign Finance Case

As you've no doubt read before, Wisconsin state officials are investigating Governor Scott Walker's office for violations of campaign finance laws. The allegations -- which came to light through the Seventh Circuit's inadvertent disclosure of documents -- were that the Wisconsin Club for Growth, a political advocacy organization, had illegally coordinated with Governor Scott Walker's anti-recall efforts.

At the same time a criminal investigation against "John Doe" targets was ongoing, Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board launched its own investigation and subpoenaed documents from the Club for Growth.

ACLU Seeks Emergency En Banc Rehearing of Wis. Voter ID Stay

On Friday, the Seventh Circuit heard oral arguments in Frank v. Walker and seemed unimpressed by arguments against Wisconsin's voter ID law. In fact, the judges were so unimpressed that the panel issued an order, mere hours later, granting a stay pending appeal (allowing the voter ID requirements to go into effect mere weeks before November's elections).

Now, the ACLU is seeking an expedited en banc rehearing, hoping that arguments about the impossibility of instituting a voter ID requirement at the last minute without disenfranchising thousands of voters will sway the full court.

7th Cir. Panel Skeptical of Wis. Voter ID Challenge

On Friday, a panel of the Seventh Circuit heard oral arguments in Frank v. Walker, a challenge to Wisconsin's voter ID law (listen to an MP3 here).

Following oral arguments, the panel issued an order allowing enforcement of the state's voter ID law, which means the law will likely be in effect during the upcoming November 4 election.

Add 2 More: Wis., Ind. Seek SCOTUS Review of Same-Sex Marriage

Predictably, both Indiana and Wisconsin are appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court following their blistering loss last week at the Seventh Circuit.

At both oral arguments and in the written opinion, Judge Richard Posner did almost as much damage to them as Tom Brady did to my fantasy football team over the weekend.

Here's a look at what the two states are arguing in their petitions:

7th Hears Oral Arguments in Wis. Voter ID Case This Week

A month after the Wisconsin Supreme Court voiced its opinion on two challenges to Wisconsin's Voter ID law, the Seventh Circuit is set to hear an appeal of a district court's ruling that the law is unconstitutional.

Wisconsin's High Court ruled in favor of the law, against two different challenges brought by the NAACP and the League of Women Voters, which has some wondering if the Seventh Circuit will follow suit.

An unusual caveat in the Wisconsin Supreme Court's opinion -- that voter identification must be free -- could also come into play.

Wis., Ind. Same-Sex Marriage Bans Unconstitutional, 7th Cir. Rules

A mere nine days after oral argument, the Seventh Circuit on Thursday affirmed a trial court decision striking down same-sex marriage bans in Indiana and Wisconsin. It's the latest in a near-unanimous string of court rulings to strike down such bans as unconstitutional.

The Seventh Circuit's decision was fast -- and unsurprising. At oral arguments, Judge Richard Posner, who wrote the opinion, was incredibly dismissive of state arguments that the bans were necessary.

7th Cir. Upholds Indiana 'Right to Work' Law

Over the past several years, "Right to Work" laws have been in vogue. Twenty-four states now have these laws, according to The Washington Post, which prevent unions from requiring workers either to join a union or pay a fee to support the union.

Today, two days before the Indiana Supreme Court is slated to hear a similar case, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on a challenge to Indiana's right to work statute, finding that it wasn't preempted by federal labor law.