U.S. Third Circuit - The FindLaw 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog


Governor Chris Christie's former chief deputy counsel, Paul Matey, was confirmed this week as the newest member of the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeal.

Notably, Matey's confirmation may not have been as contentious as Justice Kavanaugh's hearing, but there was definitely some political drama. Matey was originally nominated in April 2018, but neither of his home state senators returned the blue slip on him, which traditionally, has been a way to quash nominations. However, Matey was renominated by Trump in January 2019, and just confirmed over his home state senators' no votes.

2nd Judge Rules Against Male-Only Draft

Another federal judge has approved a lawsuit that says the all-male military draft is unconstitutional.

This time, a New Jersey judge said a woman can proceed against the Selective Service System for denying her the right to register. Last time, a Texas judge said two men prevailed in their claim that the draft was unfair to them.

In either case, the draft is not likely to change soon. President Trump is behind it, and it's a long way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Debt Buyers Are Subject to Debt Collection Law

"Caveat emptor" comes before "respondeat superior" in any legal dictionary.

Everybody knows "let the buyer beware," but "let the master answer" takes a little more explaining. In Barbato v. Greystone Alliance, LLC, the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals sort of put it this way:

If you buy debts and have debt collectors do the dirty work, you are responsible for their collection practices. That would be caveat emptor, respondeat superior.

Government Can't Withhold Grants From Sanctuary City

A federal appeals court rebuffed the Trump administration for withholding federal grant money from Philadelphia because it is a sanctuary city.

In City of Philadelphia v. Attorney General of the United States, the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals said the Justice Department unlawfully punished the city for its position on immigration. Jeff Sessions, attorney general at the time, said last year that cities would not receive federal funds unless they cooperated with U.S. immigration officials.

The unanimous appeals court affirmed a trial judge who said the government's action was "arbitrary and capricious." The City of Brotherly Love, for its part, welcomed the Third Circuit ruling with open arms.

Liquor Board Entitled to Sovereign Immunity

Earl Patterson was just doing his maintenance job, when Pennsylvania police detained him and questioned him about robbing a liquor store.

He didn't rob anybody; he worked for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. But a store employee said a "black guy" had tried to rob the store.

He sued for race discrimination in Patterson v. Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. The U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals said the board was immune from liability.

Top Courts Don't Need Democrat, Republican Balance

Attorney James Adams wanted to become a judge, so he sued.

He sued because the Delaware constitution required either Democrat or Republican judges, and he belonged to neither party. Lawmakers thought the law would be a good way to keep political balance on the bench.

Wrong, said the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Adams v. Governor of Delaware. People have freedom of association -- and not just Democrats and Republicans.

The federal district court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania just issued a nationwide injunction ruling that the Trump administration rule that would have rolled back the birth control mandate in the Affordable Care Act cannot be enforced.

In short, the Affordable Care Act required employers to provide birth control coverage, and the Trump administration's rule would have created a loophole for religious organizations to be exempted from this ACA requirement. That loophole would have been taking effect had it not been for this ruling, and a similar ruling out of Oakland, California.

Company's Call to Police for Union Activity Was Legal, Court Rules

A federal appeals court ruled that a company did not violate labor laws by asking police to remove union organizers who were promoting the union on a public road and company property.

The U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the National Labor Relations Board, which had ruled in favor of the Service Employees International Union. The appeals court said the union organizers had walked repeatedly onto the company's driveway.

Under the circumstances, the company acted reasonably in calling the police. That's the story in National Labor Relations Board v. ImageFIRST Uniform Rental Service.

Gun control is among the most controversial issues in the country, and New Jersey, taking the lead from other states, enacted a ban on large capacity magazines that hold more than 10 bullets.

Fortunately for the state, both the federal district and appellate courts have agreed that the law does not clearly violate the Second, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment, such that a preliminary injunction stopping the enforcement of the ban would be justified.

Third Circuit Upholds Bulk of 'Bridgegate' Convictions

It was a really bad idea, they just didn't realize how bad until years later when their convictions were upheld.

Their plan was to close lanes and lock up traffic to make the city look bad. It would be four days of angry commuters stuck on a bridge and revenge against the mayor for not endorsing the governor.

Yeah, that's the ticket. Wait, you put that in an email?!