Articles Posted in Constitutional Law

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The framework in Zauderer v. Office of Disciplinary Counsel of Supreme Court of Ohio, 471 U.S. 626, 651 (1985), applied beyond the context of preventing consumer deception. The Ninth Circuit reversed the denial of the Associations' motion for a preliminary injunction that sought to enjoin the implementation of the City and County of San Francisco's ordinance that would require warnings about the health effects of certain sugar-sweetened beverages on specific types of fixed advertising within San Francisco. The panel held that, although there was no dispute that San Francisco has a substantial government interest in the health of its citizens, the Associations were likely to succeed on the merits of their claim that the ordinance was an unjustified or unduly burdensome disclosure requirement that might offend the First Amendment by chilling protected commercial speech. In regard to the remaining steps of the preliminary injunction test, the panel also held that the Associations have demonstrated a likelihood of suffering irreparable harm if the ordinance was allowed to go into effect; the balance of hardships tipped sharply in favor of the Associations; and a preliminary injunction was in the public interest here. View "American Beverage Assoc. v. City and County of San Francisco" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs Merritt L. Sharp III and Carol Sharp filed suit against officers for violation of their constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. 1983, as well as California law. This case arose out of the execution of an arrest warrant for Merritt L. Sharp IV, the son of Sharp III and Carol. Sharp III was mistakenly arrested and detained instead of Sharp IV. The Ninth Circuit held that the district court properly denied qualified immunity on Sharp III's retaliation claim, and appropriately rejected all state-law immunities; the deputies were entitled to qualified immunity on Carol's retaliation claim and Sharp III's claims for the seizure of his person, the use of excessive force against him, and the search of his person, as well as plaintiffs' shared claim concerning the search of their home; and, although much of the conduct was unconstitutional, qualified immunity was nevertheless warranted on those claims in light of recent Supreme Court pronouncements and based on the failure by plaintiffs to identify sufficiently specific constitutional precedents to alert these officers that some of their particular conduct was unlawful. Accordingly, the panel affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Sharp v. County of Orange" on Justia Law

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The use of force policy adopted by the City of Seattle does not violate the Second Amendment right of police officers to use firearms for the core lawful purpose of self-defense. The Ninth Circuit applied a two-step analysis and held that the policy was subject to Second Amendment protection because the policy—an employer policy that regulates a police officer's use of a department-issued firearm while on duty—did not resemble any of the "presumptively lawful" regulations recognized in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 574–75, 635 (2008), and the parties have adduced no evidence that the policy imposed a restriction on conduct that falls outside the historical scope of the Second Amendment right to use a firearm for self-defense. The panel applied intermediate scrutiny to determine whether the policy violated the Second Amendment and held that there was a reasonable fit between the policy and Seattle's important interest in promoting the safety of the public and its police officers. Therefore, the panel affirmed the district court's dismissal of the Second Amendment claim. The panel also affirmed the district court's dismissal of the remaining substantive due process and equal protection claims. View "Mahoney v. City of Seattle" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's denial of qualified immunity to two police officers in an action alleging claims under 42 U.S.C. 1983 for unconstitutional seizures and use of excessive force. In this case, officers entered into a vacant apartment without a warrant and used deadly force on Michael Duncklee, who aggressively attacked them while growling and brandishing a broken hockey stick inside the apartment. The panel reversed the denial of qualified immunity regarding the warrantless entry and seizure of the apartment, because Duncklee had no reasonable expectation of privacy while trespassing in the apartment. The panel also reversed the denial of qualified immunity regarding the seizure of and use of force on Duncklee, because it was not clearly established that defendants' actions violated a constitutional right. Finally, the panel reversed the district court's partial grant of summary judgment in favor of plaintiff. View "Woodward v. City of Tucson" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit reversed the grant of summary judgment for plaintiffs in an action challenging California Health and Safety Code 25982. Section 25982 bans the sale of products made from force-fed birds, such as foie gras. The panel held that section 25982 is not expressly preempted by the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA), because the PPIA prohibited states from imposing "ingredient requirements" that were "in addition to, or different than" the federal law. In this case, the ordinary meaning of "ingredient" and the purpose and scope of the PPIA together made clear that "ingredient requirements" pertain to the physical components that comprise a poultry product, not animal husbandry or feeding practices. The panel also held that the PPIA impliedly preempted section 25982 under the doctrines of field and obstacle preemption. Accordingly, the panel vacated the district court's permanent injunction and remanded for further proceedings. View "Association des Eleveurs de Canards et d'Oies du Quebec v. Becerra" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of habeas relief in petitioner's death penalty case where he was convicted of kidnapping and first degree murder. The panel rejected petitioner's argument that the Arizona Supreme Court's adjudication of his Eighth Amendment claim was contrary to or an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law as determined by the Supreme Court; law enforcement misconduct claim; and two ineffective assistance of counsel claims regarding the failure to develop information regarding the victim's bones and the failure to present evidence from mental health experts. View "Atwood v. Ryan" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part the district court's judgment in favor of DOE in a suit filed under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Plaintiff, the parent of J.B., filed suit individually and on behalf of J.B., challenging J.B.'s individualized education plan (IEP). The panel held that the case was not moot; DOE violated the IDEA by failing to address transition services in the proposed IEP; DOE violated the IDEA by failing to specify in the IEP the Least Restrictive Environment during the regular and extended school year, and the IEP did not detail the anticipated frequency, location, and duration of the proposed specialized instruction in J.B.'s Science and Social Studies activities; nothing in 20 U.S.C. 1414(d) indicates that an IEP must specify the qualifications or training of service providers nor was it established in the record that DOE agreed to provide such an aide at the IEP meeting; and DOE violated the IDEA by failing to specify Applied Behavioral Analysis as a methodology in the IEP. View "R. B. v. Hawaii Department of Education" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of habeas relief for petitioner in this death penalty case. The panel held that the California Supreme Court reasonably concluded that petitioner received adequate notice of the attempted rape special circumstance and petitioner's constitutional rights were not violated when the prosecutor presented the special circumstance to the jury. In this case, the amended information specifically alleged a special circumstance premised on Cal. Penal Code 190.2(a)(17), which encompassed attempted rape. Furthermore, defense counsel also acknowledged that petitioner received adequate notice of the special circumstance and that petitioner was not prejudiced by the prosecution's arguments premised on attempted rape. After expanding the certificate of appealability to include previously uncertified claims, the panel concluded that, upon further consideration, these claims lacked merit. View "Cain v. Chappell" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal of petitioner's habeas petition as time-barred. In this case, the state trial court entered a second Amended Judgment reinstating petitioner's murder and attempted murder convictions after the Nevada Supreme Court reversed the state trial court's amended judgment overturning and vacating the convictions. The panel held that petitioner's habeas petition was timely filed because "the judgment" under 28 U.S.C. 2244(d)(1) can only refer to the state judgment pursuant to which the petitioner was being held because that was the only judgment identified in the statute-of-limitations provision. Therefore, the statute of limitations must run from the judgment pursuant to which the petitioner was being held. In this case, the Second Amended Judgment started a new one-year statute of limitations, and thus the petition was timely. The panel remanded for further proceedings. View "Smith v. Williams" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's order modifying a preliminary injunction, which enjoins the Government from enforcing Executive Order 13780 against (1) grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins of persons in the United States; and (2) refugees who have formal assurances from resettlement agencies or are in the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) through the Lautenberg Amendment. The panel held that, in modifying the preliminary injunction to preserve the status quo, the district court carefully and correctly balanced the hardships and the equitable considerations as directed by the Supreme Court in Trump v. International Refugee Assistance Project, 137 S. Ct. 2080, 2088 (2017), and did not abuse its discretion. The district court did not err in rejecting the Government's restricted reading of the Supreme Court's June 26, 2017 stay ruling and in modifying the injunction to prohibit enforcement of the Executive Order against grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins of persons in the United States. The panel affirmed the district court's holding that formally assured refugees have bona fide relationships with resettlement agencies and are covered by the injunction because the assurance is formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course rather than to evade the Executive Order. The panel explained that it considered the individualized screening process necessary to obtain a formal assurance and the concrete harms faced by a resettlement agency because of that refugee's exclusion. View "Hawaii v. Trump" on Justia Law