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Court: No Religious Reason Around Administrative Process

For the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, it will take more than a prayer to stop a natural gas pipeline.

Not even a lawsuit helped the sisters of the Roman Catholic organization who sued to stop the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline. In Adorers of Blood of Christ v. FERC, the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals said they should have objected during administrative proceedings first.

The sisters sued on religious freedom grounds, but the appeals court washed its hands of the case. Their only chance now will be a petition to God or the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the rule in a Pennsylvania school district allowing students to use the bathroom that conforms with their gender identity.

The rule is designed to ensure that transgender students are not discriminated against when it comes to using the restroom. If this sounds familiar, that's because this controversial case made headlines when Third Circuit ruled the same way back in June.

A recent decision out of federal Eastern District of Pennsylvania explains that a religious family services organization in Philadelphia cannot discriminate against prospective parents based on sexual orientation.

The case was filed by an organization called Catholic Social Services, challenging the City of Philadelphia's denial of that organization's placement of children. The organization asserted that it has a right to deny placement of children into homes that violate its religious beliefs. However, the court found that no such right existed and that the city's application of its non-discrimination laws was proper.

Court Upholds Pennsylvania School's Transgender Bathroom Policy

Some decisions are easy -- even the tough ones.

In Doe v. Boyertown Area School District, a federal appeals court upheld a school district's transgender bathroom policy. It means that high school students may go to bathrooms and locker rooms according to their gender identity.

The U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals made short work of the decision. The judges summed it up in three paragraphs.

Preachers Beat Criminal Charges, Lose Civil Case

Perhaps it was the message evangelical ministers were preaching that got them into trouble.

After all, there's something wrong about telling people "the end is coming" just as they board a train. But Don Karns and Robert Parker were not going to stop preaching just because they didn't have a permit to be on the train platform.

That was the real problem, according to the New Jersey Transit Authority. But after beating criminal charges against them, the preachers sent the state agency another message in Karns v. Shanahan.

Court to Reconsider Free Speech in Public Meetings

You can't say bomb in an airport -- Ben Stiller learned when protesting treatment by airline representatives.

And you can't say, "some of my friends have guns," as John Barna should have learned protesting school board actions. "I may have to come after all of yours," he added in a sequel.

That earned him expulsion from Panther Valley School Board meetings, and he responded with a First Amendment lawsuit. His case was dismissed, but the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals said it is not over yet.

Court Revives Civil Rights Case Over Trooper Killed in Training

Firearms instructor Richard Schroeter didn't check to see if his gun was loaded, then accidentally shot and killed Trooper David Kedra during routine training.

Schroeter pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment, and Kedra's mother sued for civil rights violations. She alleged that Schroeter subjected her son to a state-created danger, but a trial judge said the instructor was entitled to qualified immunity.

In Kedra v. Schroeter, the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals reversed. The plaintiff may soon have her day in court, but one judge said the case may have long-term impact.

In a shocking case, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals held that a TSA agent cannot be held liable for violating the civil rights of a traveler he falsely accused of making a bomb threat.

Following the analysis under Zigler v. Abbasi, the appellate court refused to extend Bivens to hold a TSA agent liable for retaliating against a passenger that wanted to file a complaint. Additionally, it noted that TSA agents enjoy a special protection for national security reasons.

In a pair of cases out of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, a three judge panel reversed a seemingly rogue lower federal district court ruling that refused to extend First Amendment protections to two individuals who photographed police in public. While the cases were remanded back to the lower federal court, the circuit court seemed to caution the parties that the defendants were likely to be immune from liability, regardless of the outcome of the appeal.

The cases are: Fields v. City of Philadelphia, et al., Case No. 16-1650, and Geraci v. City of Philadelphia, et al., Case No. 16-1651. Michael Fields was standing on the sidewalk video recording police as they were breaking up a college party. Fields was arrested simply for making the recording. Amanda Geraci was physically restrained, by the neck, when she attempted to photograph a police officer arresting a protester.

Aaron Hernandez died in prison on Wednesday, having taken his own life. The former New England Patriots tight end's suicide came as he was serving a life sentence for murdering Odin Lloyd, the boyfriend of his fiancee's sister, and just days after he had been acquitted in another double murder case.

Hernandez's may be one of the most famous prison suicides, but it's not the only one. Every year, hundreds of inmates kill themselves, making it the leading cause of death in local jails, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Now, the Third Circuit has clarified just when such suicides may be considered violations of the Eighth Amendment.