U.S. Tenth Circuit - The FindLaw 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Recently in Civil Rights Law Category

The Fort Collins, Colorado ban on women being topless in public garnered quite a bit of attention when the law was passed, and then again when the law was struck down by the district court. And now, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the district court's injunction blocking the law, setting up a challenge for the Supreme Court.

The law, as the Tenth Circuit and district court saw it, is simple, blatant, and clear gender discrimination. It literally treats men and women unequally expressly because of their gender.

The Masterpiece Cake Shop baker has filed a lawsuit against the state of Colorado alleging that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission has been hostile towards him. Regardless about how you feel about the issues, if you read the Supreme Court case, then you know, the hostility was pretty obvious.

After the big Supreme Court decision came back in favor of the baker, he faced a new formal complaint from the commission relating to another cake he refused to make for a person celebrating their gender transition. Apparently, again, he offered to sell his premade, generic goods, but refused to make a custom made and designed cake due to his religious beliefs.

Folks in Kansas know, when it rains, it pours. And Kris Kobach, the state's Secretary of State, was just doused with a loss in federal court over the state's voter ID law, as well as some rather embarrassing court ordered sanctions against him personally.

And if you're thinking it's a repeat of his prior embarrassing actions in the same case, perhaps not surprisingly, you'd be wrong. But if you've been following the case, then you know, this was just the logical ends, given there was a contempt order issued over non-compliance with the court's order.

In a case that is about as sad as it comes, the children survivors of a really bad foster home have had a good portion of their cases dismissed due the appellate court's finding that the social workers charged with overseeing their wellbeing met the requirements for qualified immunity.

The appellate court, in holding that the social workers have qualified immunity, was disgusted and explained that their ruling was contrary to logic as "any layperson would think a court justified in throwing ODHS and its caseworkers 'under the bus.'"

An inmate in a Colorado state prison is suing after being raped and abused, presumably by another inmate, while in custody. The inmate is a transgender individual that identifies as a woman, but she is nevertheless housed in a men's prison.

Before the rape occurred, the inmate sought the protection of the court against a disciplinary transfer. The had been housed in that unit before, and was assaulted. Unfortunately for the inmate, the court did not find her past experiences merited overturning the prison officials' disciplinary decisions. Sadly, the rape occurred in the unit that the inmate was seeking not to be sent to.

A lawsuit filed just days ago in Colorado's state courts against two of the biggest oil companies, Exxon and Suncor, alleges that the oil producers have caused climate change and damages to the citizens of the state of Colorado.

Unlike similar cases filed in New York and California, Colorado is not alleging damages based upon sea level change. Rather, the state claims that the "dwindling" snow pack, increased fire risk, and changes in the amount of annual precipitation, caused by climate change, are its damages.

The Utah Republican Party has sought to enjoin the enforcement of SB54, a state law passed to provide two methods for a party's candidates to make it onto the primary ballot: via the party's caucus or convention, or via signature gathering.

The Utah Republicans did not want to allow the latter method as its stated preference is to only allow the party's primary candidates to be chosen at their state nominating convention. However, unfortunately for the Utah Republican Party (but maybe fortunately for the party members), the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals explained that the law is not unconstitutional and does not violate the party's First Amendment rights.

Prison Officials Escape Liability for Gassing Inmates

The U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals called it textbook negligence.

If so, it could well end up in a law school casebook someday. But they'll probably call it the "prison tear-gas case" because that's what happened.

Prison officials accidentally gassed 100 men inside their cells. There was nothing they could do about it then, and according to the appeals court, they can't do a thing about it now.

If you haven't heard of the national Free the Nipple movement, perhaps you haven't been listening, or looking, close enough. Basically, the general idea behind the movement is gender equality through the decriminalization of the female breast, chest, and nipple.

In short, the movement seeks to make sure the law is the same for both men and women that want to walk around topless. Currently, a preliminary injunction prevents women from facing potential criminal penalties for walking around topless in Fort Collins, Colorado. That injunction was ordered by a federal district court judge upon the motion of Free the Nipple, the organization behind the national movement, and the two brave plaintiffs. However, the City of Fort Collins has appealed the injunction to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, which will be hearing arguments mid-January.

The Federal District Court for New Mexico issued a preliminary injunction blocking the state's Secretary of State from limiting the amount of money Representative Steve Pearce can transfer over from his prior federal campaign to his state bid for the governor's office.

Pearce apparently has (or at this point, maybe, had) nearly a million dollars just sitting in his federal campaign account. However, the New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver limited Pearce from transferring more than $11,000 from that account to his state campaign account due to New Mexico's campaign finance laws. The federal court disagreed and issued an injunction allowing Pearce to access the funds while the matter is pending in the courts.