Short Circuit: A Roundup of Recent Federal Court Decisions
Please enjoy the latest edition of Short Circuit, a weekly feature from the Institute for Justice.
Friends, federal officials are in the main completely immune from claims for damages for violating the Constitution. But the Supreme Court has been clear that there is liability for “garden variety” search-and-seizure claims. So, over at Jurist, IJers Anya Bidwell and Nick Sibilla explain why the Court should grant review to a pair of cases and tell lower courts to stop tossing search-and-seizure cases.
- The late artist Robert Indiana made a mint off of his painting of the word “LOVE,” with the letters arranged two by two and the O set at an angle. In this contractual dispute with the publisher of the similarly styled “HOPE,” was the trial court correct when it held that an arbitrator must determine the threshold issue of arbitrability? First Circuit: NOPE.
- Merchants that do not accept American Express sue American Express for antitrust violations. The allegation? Amex prohibits participating merchants from “steering” customers to other cards that charge lower processing fees. The result is that Visa, MasterCard, and Discover face less incentive to compete on merchant fees, meaning higher fees even for merchants that don’t take Amex. Second Circuit: If there’s a claim here, folks who don’t take Amex are too remotely connected to enforce it.
- Allegation: Man spends close to 25 years on death row after Philadelphia police fabricate evidence, coerce witnesses, withhold exculpatory evidence, knowingly present false testimony. Third Circuit: No qualified immunity. The right not to be framed is so obvious that detectives were on notice even without a factually analogous case. (Whether his suit is barred because he pled no contest to lesser, still serious charges in 2017 in order to secure his release is not a question for interlocutory appeal.) (Click here for some longform journalism.)
- Maryland man obsessed with Bill Cosby rape allegations manages to have fabricated document (imputing tax fraud to one of Cosby’s accusers) added to docket in civil case against Cosby. For this, he is convicted of two counts of making false statements and sentenced to 32 months in prison. Third Circuit: That’s a sli
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