Justia Constitutional Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

by
The DC Circuit denied a petition for review challenging the Commission's 2018 rule allowing investment companies to post shareholder reports online and mail paper copies to shareholders upon request. Petitioners argued that the SEC did not adequately consider the interests of shareholders who prefer reports in paper form. The court held, however, that the consumer organization lacked Article III standing. In this case, the organization could not reasonably have believed that its barebones affidavit, vaguely describing the preferences and burdens of unnamed members and others, sufficed to prove its representational standing; nor could it reasonably have believed that its standing was self-evident from the rulemaking record. The court also held that the paper-industry representatives asserted interests beyond those protected or regulated by the securities laws. Applying Hazardous Waste Treatment Council v. Thomas, 885 F.2d 918, 921–22 (D.C. Cir. 1989), the court held that the conflict between the interests of paper sellers and those of shareholders is likely to increase over time, and this suggests a systematic misalignment with shareholder preferences, which makes paper companies distinctly unqualified to advance the interests of shareholders. View "Twin Rivers Paper Co., LLC v. SEC" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiffs won the 2017 diversity visa lottery but were denied visas pursuant to the State Department's Guidance Memo. The Guidance Memo instructed consular officers reviewing diversity visa applications about how President Trump's Executive Order temporarily prohibiting nationals of specific countries from entering the United States (EO2) affected visa eligibility. In this case, plaintiffs were denied visas because they were from Iran and Yemen—countries subject to the entry ban—and could not qualify for exemptions or waivers or satisfy the bona fide relationship requirement in Trump v. Int'l Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP I), 137 S. Ct. 2080, 2088 (2017). After EO-2 expired, it was replaced by President Trump's third iteration of the travel ban, the Proclamation. After the Supreme Court explained that challenges to the expired EO-2 were moot, and the government then filed a motion to dismiss this case as moot. The DC Circuit reversed the district court's determination that this case was moot, and held that plaintiffs' claims -- seeking a court order instructing the government to stop implementing the Guidance Memo, process their visa applications, and issue them diversity visas -- were not moot because whether the district court retains the authority to award plaintiffs relief is a merits question. The court held that neither plaintiffs' claim that such relief was legally available nor their claim that they were entitled to that relief was so implausible as to deprive the district court of jurisdiction. Furthermore, there was some chance that this relief would be effective at securing their immigration to the United States. View "Almaqrami v. Pompeo" on Justia Law

by
Exhaustless petitioned for review of the FAA's latest interim orders limiting the number of flights serving LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy Airports in New York and seeking implementation of Exhaustless's patent-pending product to manage the allocation of takeoff and landing slots to airlines. The DC Circuit dismissed the petitions based on lack of standing, holding that the company failed to demonstrate that vacating the interim FAA orders would redress its injury—i.e., a lack of market opportunity for its product. Furthermore, vacating the interim orders would leave takeoffs and landings at the airports unregulated, eliminating the need for the company's product at the federal level. To the extent that Exhaustless argued that the local airport authority could employ its product if there were no federal regulation, the court found any such possibility too speculative to support standing. View "Exhaustless Inc. v. FAA" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff filed suit alleging that DHS engaged in discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The district court granted summary judgment for DHS and denied plaintiff's motion to stay proceedings to allow for discovery. The DC Circuit held that the district court erroneously concluded that the evidence sought by plaintiff could not create a dispute of material fact as to whether DHS's proffered reasons for taking adverse action were pretextual. The court also held that summary judgment was inappropriate with respect to plaintiff's claim that her reassignment to the Resource Management Branch was retaliatory. However, summary judgment was appropriate with respect to DHS's initial decision to extend her detail, because plaintiff did not create a genuine dispute of material fact. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Cruz v. McAleenan" on Justia Law

by
The District violates the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 if it cares for a mentally or physically disabled individual in a nursing home notwithstanding, with reasonable modifications to its policies and procedures, it could care for that individual in the community. Plaintiffs, a class of physically disabled individuals who have been receiving care in District nursing homes, sought an injunction requiring the District to alter its policies and procedures in order to help them transition to the community. The DC Circuit reversed the district court's judgment in favor of the District, holding that plaintiffs need not identify "concrete, systemic deficiency" in the District's transition services; there was no class certification issue; and the district court has not yet concluded, in clear terms and under the correct burden of proof, that the District's Olmstead Plan (a comprehensive, effectively working plan for placing qualified persons with physical disabilities in less restrictive settings) was adequate. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Brown v. District of Columbia" on Justia Law

by
The DC Circuit reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment for the Architect with respect to plaintiff's discrimination claims, holding that there was sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to infer that the 2014 and 2015 decision not to select plaintiff as Branch Chief was motivated by bias. The court affirmed the district court's grant of of summary judgment with respect to plaintiff's retaliation claims, holding that plaintiff failed to introduce anything beyond his weak evidence of temporal proximity to show that the Architect's decisions were motivated by a desire to retaliate against him. Furthermore, even if it were to adopt plaintiff's interpretation of the relevant dates and find that he has established a prima facie case for retaliation using evidence of temporal proximity, there would still be insufficient evidence to defeat summary judgment. View "Iyoha v. Architect of the Capitol" on Justia Law

by
EPIC filed suit seeking to enjoin the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. EPIC alleged that, before the Department's announcement of the citizenship question, its members were entitled to a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) by law. The DC Circuit remanded to the district court to dismiss the case, because EPIC lacked standing. The court held that EPIC's assertion of organizational standing was plainly foreclosed by precedent, and its assertion of associational standing also failed, because it has not identified a concrete injury suffered by one of its members. View "Electronic Privacy Information Center v. US Department of Commerce" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff filed suit against the the Acting Architect of the Capitol (AOC), in her official capacity, alleging that the selecting officials at the AOC denied him a promotion on the basis of his race and national origin in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The DC Circuit vacated the district court's grant of summary judgment to the AOC, holding that a jury reasonably could find the panelists did not select plaintiff for promotion because of his race or national origin. Because plaintiff argued his case as a single-motive claim and at oral argument forfeited any potential mixed-motive claim he could have made, he bears the burden of showing the alleged animus was a but-for cause of the decision not to promote him. Therefore, the court remanded for trial where plaintiff will bear the typical burden in this single-motive case to establish that he would have been selected for the promotion but for the alleged improper motive. View "Mayorga v. Merdon" on Justia Law

by
Petitioner challenged the district court's denial of his petition for writ of habeas corpus, raising a due process challenge to the government's use of undisclosed classified information as a basis for his detention. The DC Circuit held that the district court's ruling that binding circuit precedent denied petitioner all rights to due process was in error. The court explained that Kiyemba v. Obama ruled only that the Due Process Clause does not invest detainees who have already been granted habeas corpus with a substantive due process right to be released into the United States. However, Kiyemba did not decide, or have any occasion to address, what constitutional procedural protections apply to the litigation of a detainee's habeas corpus petition in the first instance. Furthermore, no other decision of this circuit has adopted a categorical prohibition on affording detainees seeking habeas relief any constitutional procedural protections. The court held that the governing law is that petitioner and other alien detainees must be afforded a habeas process that ensures "meaningful review" of their detention pursuant to Boumediene v. Bush. Therefore, the court remanded the case for further proceedings to be conducted within the correct legal framework and to develop the needed factual record. View "Qassim v. Trump" on Justia Law

by
These consolidated appeals stemmed from the cyberattack of multiple OPM databases that resulted in the data breach of sensitive personal information from more than 21 million people. Plaintiffs alleged that OPM's cybersecurity practices were inadequate, enabling the hackers to gain access to the agency's database of employee information, in turn exposing plaintiffs to heightened risks of identity theft and other injuries. The district court dismissed the complaints based on lack of Article III standing and failure to state a claim. The DC Circuit held that both sets of plaintiffs have alleged facts sufficient to satisfy Article III standing requirements; the Arnold Plaintiffs have stated a claim for damages under the Privacy Act, and have unlocked OPM's waiver of sovereign immunity, by alleging OPM's knowing refusal to establish appropriate information security safeguards; KeyPoint was not entitled to derivative sovereign immunity because it has not shown that its alleged security faults were directed by the government, and it is alleged to have violated the Privacy Act standards incorporated into its contract with OPM; and, assuming a constitutional right to informational privacy, NTEU Plaintiffs have not alleged any violation of such a right. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "In re: U.S. Office of Personnel Management Data Security Breach Litigation" on Justia Law