Tag Archives: Ninth Circuit

BREAKING: Prop. 8 Unconstitutional

Constitution of the United States of America

Constitution of the United States of America (Photo credit: The U.S. National Archives)

This morning, the federal Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled 2-1 that Proposition 8 violates the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution.

It’s the first time that a federal appeals court has struck down a statewide ban on marriage for same-sex couples.

The court’s opinion affirmed arguments made by Equality California’s amicus brief:

Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples. The Constitution simply does not allow for laws of this sort.

Thousands of California couples and families have been denied a chance to make the same commitment in marriage that other couples treasure. Today’s ruling has moved one step closer to restoring the freedom to marry in California.

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Supreme Court Decides Whether “Right to Sue” Means “Right to Arbitration”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, U.S. Supreme Court justice.

“The statute is meant to apply to ordinary people, and if an ordinary person not schooled in the law read ‘You have a right to sue,’ wouldn’t they understand that to mean: I have a right to sue in court?” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg asked. Image via Wikipedia

When Congress writes legislation that says, “You have a right to sue,” why doesn’t that mean that consumers have a right to file a lawsuit in court?

That is the question before the United States Supreme Court.

The case is about whether customers unhappy about hidden costs of the credit cards they received from CompuCredit can sue the company in court, or whether they must abide by the fine print in their contracts that said all disputes must be handled by arbitration.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said the cardholders could sue after discovering their Aspire Visa cards came with a $300 credit limit — and $257 in fees.

The court agreed with cardholders that the Credit Repair Organizations Act explicitly says that consumers have the right to sue.

The Stanford University law professor representing CompuCredit, said that arbitration satisfies that right. His argument launched the Justices into rounds of questioning on the same point.

“The statute is meant to apply to ordinary people, and if an ordinary person not schooled in the law read ‘You have a right to sue,’ wouldn’t they understand that to mean: I have a right to sue in court?” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg asked.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. added: “If somebody, you know, hits your car and you jump out angrily and you say: ‘I’m going to sue you.’ You are not likely to say: ‘I’m going to bring a cause of action against you.’ ”

The attorney representing cardholders agreed that Congress made its intentions clear. The statute does not mention arbitration.

The case is CompuCredit Corp. v. Greenwood.

Via The Washington Post.

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Ninth Circuit Panel Throws Out DADT Case As Moot

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On Thursday, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco refused to decide the constitutionality of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, saying the issue is resolved since gay men and women can serve openly in the armed forces.

The court tossed out a lawsuit that had challenged the ban as violating civil rights. It also dismissed a trial judge’s year-old ruling that the policy was unconstitutional.

Via NYT.

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Supreme Court to Hear Cases on Immigrants’ Residence

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On Tuesday, the Supreme Court agreed to decide whether the length of immigrants’ lawful residence in the United States should be considered in determining whether their children may be deported.

The Court also agreed to hear six other cases from among the hundreds of appeals that piled up over the summer. The number of cases accepted by the Justices this year  was unusually small. Last year, they added fourteen cases to the docket.

Federal immigration law allows people who have been lawful permanent residents for at least five years and have lived continuously in the United States for at least seven years to ask the government for leniency if threatened with deportation. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in a series of cases that immigrants who entered the United States as children may count their parents’ years here to satisfy the residency requirements.

The court accepted two appeals from such rulings, consolidating them into a single case.

One of the appeals, Holder v. Gutierrez, No. 10-1542, concerns Carlos M. Gutierrez, a Mexican citizen who became a legal permanent resident of the United States in 2003, when he was nineteen. Two years later, the government sought to deport him after catching him trying to drive across the border from Mexico with three undocumented minors in his car.

The other appeal, Holder v. Sawyers, No. 10-1543, involved Damien A. Sawyers, a Jamaican citizen whom the government sought to deport after he was convicted of “maintaining a dwelling for keeping a controlled substance.” The conviction came nearly seven years after Mr. Sawyers became a lawful permanent resident of the United States in 1995 at the age of fifteen.

Neither man could himself satisfy the criteria that would have allowed him to seek leniency. The Ninth Circuit ruled that the time their parents had spent in the United States could be imputed to them.

In its briefs urging the Justices to hear the case, the Obama administration said the Ninth Circuit’s interpretation of the law was wrong. Lawyers for the two men, in briefs urging the Justices not to hear the cases, said the government had ignored a policy favoring keeping families intact.

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Republicans Block Federal Court Appointee

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On Thursday, Senate Republicans blocked law professor Goodwin Liu’s appointment to the San Francisco-based Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Democrats fell eight votes short of the 60 needed to end a filibuster.

Liu has been even more controversial than President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominees. Because many observers view the 40-year-old as a future Democratic Supreme Court candidate, conservative groups mobilized to keep the Rhodes Scholar from appointment.

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No Gay Marriage in California During Appeal

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On Wednesday, a federal appeals court refused to allow same-sex marriages to take place in California while it considers the constitutionality of Proposition 8, the voter-approved ban on gay marriage.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris joined gay marriage proponents in urging the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to lift a stay placed on the lower court’s ruling to strike down Prop. 8.

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