Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment and attorney's fees in favor of plaintiffs in a 42 U.S.C. 1983 action challenging a public school's policies. The policies prohibited, among other things, picketing on school district property, and prohibited strikers from coming onto school grounds, even for reasons unrelated to an anticipated teachers' strike. Plaintiffs also filed state law claims. The panel held that the government speech doctrine did not authorize the government's suppression of contrary views. In this case, no reasonable observer would have misperceived the speech which the school district sought to suppress—speech favoring the teachers' side in the strike—as a position taken by the school district itself. The panel also held that, because the school district's policies were neither reasonable nor viewpoint neutral, they failed even the non-public forum test and thus violated the First Amendment rights of Union members. Furthermore, the policies violated rights of Union members under the Oregon Constitution, and the school district was properly held liable for the actions of its security officer in barring Plaintiff Boyer from the school parking lot because she had a sign on the back windshield of her car supporting the teachers. View "Eagle Point Education Association v. Jackson County School District No. 9" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's complaint alleging that the temporary appointment of then-Lieutenant Governor Brian Schatz as the United States senator from Hawaii violated their rights under the Seventeenth Amendment. The panel held that plaintiffs' failure to seek an injunction did not foreclose the availability of the "capable of repetition, yet evading review" exception to mootness; a temporary appointment to the United States Senate under Hawaii Revised Statute 17-1 lasts, at most, two years and five months; the controversy over the legality of such an appointment was one of inherently limited duration; and plaintiffs had not demonstrated that expedited review would have been unavailable in a case like theirs. View "Hamamoto v. Ige" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit alleging that social workers violated their constitutional rights to family unity and companionship, and as well as their small children's rights, by removing the children from home without a warrant or court order. Plaintiffs were the subject of a criminal investigation after they tried to print nude photos of their three children. Determining that the appeal was timely, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's order denying plaintiffs' motion to seal the summary judgment order where the district court protected the privacy of the children, Arizona law prohibits the Department of Economic Security from releasing the files, the district court order employed clinical, anatomically correct language to briefly describe the nudity depicted in the photographs, plaintiffs did not file their complaint under seal, and plaintiffs gave public interviews where they described the photos at issue. The panel reversed the district court's order granting summary judgment in favor of the social workers based on qualified immunity, holding that the social workers did not have reasonable cause to believe the children were at risk of serious bodily harm or molestation when they removed the children from their home without judicial authorization. The panel remanded for further proceedings. View "Demaree v. Pederson" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit alleging that social workers violated their constitutional rights to family unity and companionship, and as well as their small children's rights, by removing the children from home without a warrant or court order. Plaintiffs were the subject of a criminal investigation after they tried to print nude photos of their three children. Determining that the appeal was timely, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's order denying plaintiffs' motion to seal the summary judgment order where the district court protected the privacy of the children, Arizona law prohibits the Department of Economic Security from releasing the files, the district court order employed clinical, anatomically correct language to briefly describe the nudity depicted in the photographs, plaintiffs did not file their complaint under seal, and plaintiffs gave public interviews where they described the photos at issue. The panel reversed the district court's order granting summary judgment in favor of the social workers based on qualified immunity, holding that the social workers did not have reasonable cause to believe the children were at risk of serious bodily harm or molestation when they removed the children from their home without judicial authorization. The panel remanded for further proceedings. View "Demaree v. Pederson" on Justia Law

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Section 647(b) of the California Penal Code, which criminalizes the commercial exchange of sexual activity, does not violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of ESP's action under 42 U.S.C. 1983, challenging the constitutionality of Section 647(b). In light of IDK, Inc. v. Clark Cnty., 836 F.2d 1185, 1193 (9th Cir. 1998), rather than Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558, 562 (2003), the panel held that laws invalidating prostitution may be justified by rational basis review. The panel held that Section 647(b) is rationally related to several important governmental interests, any of which support a finding of no constitutional violation under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment; Section 647(b) does not violate the freedom of intimate or expressive association; and Section 647(b) does not violate the right to earn a living. The panel also held that Section 647(b) does not violate the First Amendment freedom of speech because prostitution did not constitute protected commercial speech and therefore did not warrant such protection. View "Erotic Service Provider Legal Education and Research Project v. Gascon" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of an action challenging the constitutionality of California Family Code Section 7962. Section 7962 codified California cases that found gestational surrogacy contracts enforceable. The panel held that this case did not fall within the two limited categories of civil cases that define the scope of Younger abstention. Therefore, the district court erred by abstaining. However, notwithstanding this error, the panel affirmed on issue preclusion grounds the dismissal of the complaint because the California Court of Appeal's decision precluded further litigation of plaintiff's constitutional claims. View "Cook v. Harding" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit granted a petition for rehearing, filed an amended opinion reversing the denial of habeas relief challenging petitioner's death sentence, and remanded. The panel held that the Arizona Supreme Court denied petitioner his Eighth Amendment right to individualized sentencing by applying an unconstitutional causal nexus test to his mitigating evidence of a troubled childhood and mental health issues. Such error had a substantial and injurious effect or influence in determining the sentence. The panel denied habeas relief on petitioner's claim that the Arizona courts failed to consider his history of substance abuse as a nonstatutory mitigating factor. Finally, the panel agreed with the district court that petitioner's ineffective assistance of counsel claim was procedurally defaulted because it was fundamentally different from the claim he presented in state court. View "Poyson v. Ryan" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit granted a petition for review of the BIA's decision concluding that petitioner was not removable for a controlled substance offense under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(B)(i). The panel held that the state crimes underlying his removal, Nevada Revised Statutes 199.480 and 454.351, were not a categorical match to the federal generic statutes because they were overbroad and indivisible. Accordingly, the statute may not be used as a predicate offense to support removal. View "Villavicencio v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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Idaho's criminalization of misrepresentations to enter a production facility, Idaho Code 18-7042(1)(a), and ban on audio and video recordings of a production facility's operations, Idaho 18-7042(1)(d), covered protected speech under the First Amendment and did not survive constitutional scrutiny. The Interference with Agricultural Production law was enacted after a secretly-filmed expose of operations at an Idaho dairy farm went live on the internet and depicted dairy workers committing various acts of animal cruelty. The Ninth Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part the district court's entry of summary judgment in favor of ALDF and vacated in part its permanent injunction against enforcement of the statute. The panel upheld the provisions that fell within constitutional parameters, but struck down those limitations that impinged on protected speech. View "Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Wasden" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for plaintiffs in an action challenging the constitutionality of California Civil Code Section 1748.1(a). Section 1748.1(a) prohibits retailers from imposing a surcharge on customers who make payments with credit cards, but permits discounts for payments by cash or other means. Determining that plaintiffs had standing, the panel held that the statute as applied to these plaintiffs violates the First Amendment. In this case, Section 1748.1 restricts plaintiffs' non-misleading commercial speech; this restriction did not directly advance the Attorney General's asserted state interest in preventing consumer deception; nor was it narrowly drawn to achieving that interest. View "Italian Colors Restaurant v. Becerra" on Justia Law