Oh, the good ol' Tenth Circuit. For a circuit that covers a geographically large portion of the United States, the case law coming out of there can sometimes not be as compelling as circuits with cities like New York or San Francisco. But, that doesn't mean all Tenth Circuit cases are folly. In fact, when they mean business, they get the whole country's attention.
Tenth Circuit in the News
With Utah's large Mormon population, we suppose it was just a matter of time before a polygamy case was heard. And just in time for the end of 2013, Judge Waddoups of the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah struck down Utah's bigamy statutes' cohabitation provision as unconstitutional.
The touchy issue of horse slaughter has also been making its way through the courts, with the latest being the Tenth Circuit's refusal to grant plaintiffs an injunction pending appeal.
Finally, the Tenth Circuit also gave its two cents on Abercrombie & Fitch's controversial "look" policy as it relates to the hijab. We're still waiting to see if the Tenth Circuit will grant the EEOC's petition for rehearing en banc.
Cases Headed to SCOTUS
Two of the cases before SCOTUS in the term starting October 2013 have already been decided -- sort of.
While the Court held that prosecutors could rebut a defendant's evidence of mental state by offering evidence from a court-ordered psychological examination in Kansas v. Cheever, the Court dismissed Cline v. Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, before oral arguments, as improvidently granted.
But one of the biggest cases before the Supreme Court that is being closely watched nationwide is Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., related to the Obamacare contraception mandate. Arguments are scheduled for March 25, and the case is linked with two others, one from the Third Circuit and one from the Sixth Circuit.
Cases That Make You Go 'Hmmm...'
What would a year-in-review be without discussing cases that make you go "hmmm"? Last year, the Tenth Circuit assumed without deciding that GPS pinging constituted a search -- which is fine, but some clarity from the court would be nice, no? And then of course, there was the case of the flaming rubber fetuses.
What were some of your favorite Tenth Circuit cases from 2013? Let us know on Facebook at FindLaw for Legal Professionals.