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.
Recently the Eleventh Circuit upheld Florida’s system of allowing former felons to get back their right to vote, even though it makes it very hard for former felons to actually do that. Critics have rightfully decried the ruling, but, unfortunately, it’s based on decades of Supreme Court precedent that many of those same critics have likely endorsed. Director of IJ’s Center for Judicial Engagement Anthony Sanders tells us how supporting the extreme version of the rational basis test in some cases but not others is a bargain with Leviathan that you just can’t win. Click here to read.
- After Congress declined to appropriate funding to Build The Wall, the president moved some money around to build some of it anyway. House of Representatives: Can’t do that. D.C. Circuit: “It is a core structural protection of the Constitution—a wall, so to speak, between the branches of government that prevents encroachment of the House’s and Senate’s power of the purse.” Therefore, the House has standing to sue. The case should not have been dismissed.
- Police planning a no-knock raid on a suspected drug dealer observe him leaving home around 9:00 p.m. Without checking whether the suspect had returned, police conduct the raid the next morning. Within seconds of breaching the front door, police shoot an unarmed houseguest in the stomach. Jury: The officer wasn’t negligent, but the city was. Trial court: The municipality didn’t have a “special relationship” with the plaintiff and therefore had no duty to avoid negligently getting him shot in the stomach. Second Circuit: Not so clear; we’ll let the New York Court of Appeals straighten this out.
- Technology company rescinds job offers after background checks turn up past felony convictions. Two would-have-been employees sue, claiming the company’s policy has a disparate impact on African Americans. Second Circuit: Plaintiffs would have us assume that, because African Americans in general are more likely to have felony convictions, the same holds true for African American web developers. That assumption is not plausible or even logical, so the complaint must be dismissed.
- Grim reading: At the turn of the 20th century, German colonial and military authorities annihilated about 100,000 people in what is now Namibia, killing 80% of the Ovaherero and 50% of the Nama tribes and subjecting many more to slavery, concentration camps, and live medical experimentation. Second Circuit: These terrible wrongs can’t be addressed in U.S. courts.
- After praising the Christchurch massacre online, white supremacist is interviewed by the FBI. He lies to agents about owning a gun, and he’s convicted of making a false statement.
Article from Latest – Reason.com