Short Circuit: A Roundup of Recent Federal Court Decisions
Please enjoy the latest edition of Short Circuit, a weekly feature written by a bunch of people at the Institute for Justice.
- In this week’s Profile in Judicial Understatement, we bring you Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod of the Fifth Circuit, who concludes that it may indeed have been unlawful sexual discrimination to deny this Louisiana construction worker opportunities for advancement because, in the words of her general foreman, she has “t*** and an a**.” Summary judgment reversed.
- Students at Knoxville, Tenn. public high school (located in a former train station) are permitted to eat and chew gum in some classes, which is excruciating for a student who suffers from misophonia. Disability discrimination? Sixth Circuit: Case undismissed.
- The Supreme Court’s ruling in City of Austin v. Reagan National Advertising may be incoherent and ends-driven (our words), but it is the law and easily disposes of this First Amendment challenge to a Madison, Wisc. sign ordinance (the Seventh Circuit‘s words).
- Arkansas parolee absconds; law enforcement get a tip he’s staying at a friend’s place and dealing drugs. They arrest him leaving her place and then search it without a warrant. Yikes! Plenty of contraband. Eighth Circuit: It’s an issue of first impression, but we hold that officers must have probable cause—rather than reasonable suspicion, a less-demanding standard—to believe a parolee is living at a residence to conduct a warrantless search. And an uncorroborated tip and being in the vicinity of a residence don’t cut it. Suppress the evidence.
- University of Iowa law prof criticizes University of Iowa doctor for his expert testimony regarding a meat processor’s employee bathroom-break policies via complaints to the doctor’s boss, local newspaper articles, and elsewhere. Doctor: First Amendment violation. Amicus: A professor criticizing another professor is normal and should be encouraged. Eighth Circuit: The law prof’s speech might have been seen as authoritative given his employer, but that isn’t enough to transform his speech into state action, so no constitutional violation here.
- We apologize that this entry does not contain a detailed breakdown of this fascinating Eighth Circuit ruling about the right to cross examine witnesses about their habitual drug use if the witnesses have made clear they will invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination (on which the judges disagree), but we can’t stop thinking about the unanimous holding that firing a gun at someone you have carjacked and then driven to a second location to beat the crap out of and possibly kill does not count as discharging a firearm “during and in relatio
Article from Reason.com