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Court Upholds Utah's Signature-Gathering Law

Utah politics have always been a little different.

From its theocratic beginnings, Utah has long been a bastion of conservatives. If you are a Democrat in Utah, you may have a hard time winning an election.

So it is not too surprising that Utah's most recent political battle is between Republicans and Republicans. In Utah Republican Party v. Cox, the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals may have put an end to it -- for now.

Energy Lawyer Confirmed to 10th Circuit Court of Appeals

When President Trump nominated Joel Carson to the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, it was a practical decision as much as a political one.

Carson, a part-time magistrate judge, was also a principal attorney at a law firm specializing in oil, gas, and energy law. There is a lot of that in the Tenth Circiut, which includes resource-rich states such as Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming.

The 71 Senators who confirmed his nomination can't wait to see what Carson can do. The 21 who opposed him have some concerns.

Overstock Sued for Allegedly Following Bitcoin Frenzy

If Overstock.com continues to loose market value, at least it won't be alone.

To start the month, the stock market dove more than 750 points before rebounding to an overall loss of 459 points for the day. Investors were scared off by tariff wars and problems in technology companies.

It was bad for Overstock.com, too, but not as bad as the allegations in a new stockholder lawsuit. A new class action claims the company defrauded shareholders by using blockchain technology as "a thinly veiled strategy to take advantage of the Bitcoin Frenzy."

Investment Manager Owes $5 Million for Misappropriation

A former investment manager got a break on nearly $50 million in fines, but still has to disgorge more than $5 million for misappropriating investors' money.

A federal appeals court had upheld orders that Charles Kokesh pay $34.9 million, plus $18 million in interest and a $2.4 million penalty two years ago. It wasn't enough to recoup $85 million his investment firms lost, but he appealed anyway.

Catching the case on the rebound from the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has settled on $5 million. For the government in Securities and Exchange Commission v. Kokesh, it was literally too little, too late.

Federal Judge Blocks Law Against Israel Boycott

A federal judge said a Kansas woman may boycott Israel, and the state cannot require otherwise.

In Koontz v. Watson, the judge enjoined the state's enforcement of a Kansas law that requires people who contract with the state to certify they are not engaged in the boycott.

Esther Koontz, a public school teacher, sued for relief saying "she could not sign the form in good conscience." The American Civil Liberties Union called it a "major victory" for free speech.

'Underwear Bomber' Sues Over Alleged Mistreatment

The Administrative Maximum Facility in Florence, Colorado houses some of the most hated mass murderers in the world.

They include Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, and terrorists in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Twin Towers.

Then there's the "Underwear Bomber." He's in the news again, claiming prison officials have mistreated him.

In a rare instance, the American Bar Association has rated Judge Charles Goodwin, President Trump's nominee to the Federal District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, as "unqualified." This may be puzzling to some as Judge Goodwin has served as a federal magistrate judge in the same court for the past four years.

However, whether or not that rating will hold up or prevent his confirmation cannot be predicted with any certainty. While traditionally the ABA issued their evaluations prior to the announcement of a nomination, President Trump has not bothered with seeking the ABA's evaluation prior to announcing a nomination.

Tenth Circuit Dismisses Fracking Appeals

Fracking, for all its attention-getting repercussions, is not getting any more attention from a federal appeals court.

The U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has dismissed consolidated fracking appeals that included more parties and amici than judges in the four-state circuit.

In State of Wyoming v. Zinke, the appeals panel said the cases were "prudentially unripe" because a disputed federal fracking regulation is being rescinded.

State Wins Casino Battle Against Pueblo of Pojoaque Tribe

The Skirmish in Doubtful Canyon, which left 10 Apache dead on May 3, 1864, was the last Indian battle in what would become the history of New Mexico.

The Apaches attacked a company of California soldiers there, ending about two hours later when the last Indian fled. But more than 150 years later, the Indian wars are not really over in New Mexico.

Another skirmish has broken out between the state and the Pueblo of Pojoaque, which sued the state for interfering with its casinos. The tribe lost a battle before a federal appeals court in Pueblo of Pojoaque v. State of New Mexico.

10th Circuit Allows RICO Case Against Pot Farm

A federal appeals court gave a family the green light to sue their neighbors for growing marijuana in violation of laws against criminal enterprises.

The growers may have been doing business legally under state law, but not federal law. The U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals said the plaintiffs alleged sufficient damages to invoke the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act.

"Marijuana is a controlled substance under the CSA. 21 U.S.C. sec. 802(16)," the court said in Safe Streets Alliance v. Alternative Holistic Healing, LLC. "So the manufacture, distribution, and sale of that substance is, by definition, racketeering activity under RICO."