US Legal News Round Up for Saturday, 21 October 2017 News
US Legal News Round Up for Saturday, 21 October 2017

Here’s the domestic legal news we covered this week:

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the so-called Christmas Day bomber, filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] Wednesday in the US District Court for the District of Colorado alleging violations of his constitutional rights.

Abdulmutallab, who attempted to detonate an underwear bomb [JURIST report] in an airplane bathroom on Christmas Day, 2009, argues that his First, Fifth and Eighth Amendment rights are being violated at the Administrative Maximum facility (ADX) [NYT backgrounder] in Florence, Colorado.

At ADX Abdulmutallab is placed in solitary restrictive confinement due to special administrative measures (SAMs) and is not allowed contact with other individuals.

The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit [court website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Wednesday that a 90-year-old cross shaped monument in Maryland violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment [JURIST report].

The monument, erected in 1925 to honor 49 Prince George’s County men who died during World War I, was challenged [complaint, PDF] by the American Humanist Association [advocacy website] in February 2014.

[JURIST] Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) [official websites] proposed a bipartisan bill [text] Wednesday intended to “stabilize individual market premiums for the 2018 and 2019 plan years and provide meaningful State flexibility.”

The bill is co-sponsored by 24 senators, evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, and the draft currently proposed would stabilize funding of cost-sharing reduction (CSR) subsidies.

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website] on Thursday temporarily blocked [order, PDF] a lower court ruling permitting a 17-year-old unidentified undocumented immigrant to have an abortion by her own choice.
The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit [official website] upheld [opinion, PDF] a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) [official website] ruling on Tuesday stating that “it was not unreasonable for the FCC to gather more information from relevant parties before deciding whether to compel broadcasters to translate emergency alerts and broadcast them in languages in addition to English.”

The plaintiffs in the case included the League of United Latin American Citizens and Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council [advocacy websites] who claimed that the FCC violated § 1 of the Federal Communications Act (§ 1) [text, PDF], which states the purpose of the agency in relevant part as follows:

regulating interstate and foreign commerce in communication by wire and radio so as to make available, so far as possible, to all the people of the United States, without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex, a rapid, efficient, Nationwide, and world-wide wire and radio communication service with adequate facilities at reasonable charges …

The US District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina [official website] on Monday began trial [The Mountaineer report] in Common Cause v.
US veterans filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] in federal court on Tuesday against five big pharmaceutical firms for funding terrorist organizations in Iraq.
US District Judge William Alsup in California on Tuesday ordered [text] the Trump administration to turn over emails,
letters, memoranda, notes, media items, opinions and other materials directly or indirectly
considered in the final agency decision to rescind [press release] the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) [USCIS materials] program.

The plaintiffs successfully illustrated that defendants excluded highly relevant materials from the administrative record, rebutting the presumption that the record is complete.

The Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District [official website] on Tuesday vacated [opinion, PDF] a $72 million award to a woman who claimed that Johnson & Johnson (J&J) [corporate website] baby powder products containing talcum contributed to her ovarian cancer, finding that the court that awarded the amount had no jurisdiction.

The court cited a Supreme Court case [JURIST report] that “non-resident[s] must establish an independent basis for specific personal jurisdiction over the defendant in the state.” J&J is headquartered in New Jersey.

Judge Theodore Chuang of the US District Court for the District of Maryland [official website] on Tuesday blocked [opinion] President Donald Trump’s latest version [text, PDF] of the travel ban [JURIST news archive], finding that the president’s purpose was to implement a ban against Muslims.

The proclamation, which was issued in September, bans travelers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela; six of which are majority-Muslim countries.

Chuang ultimately found the administration’s argument to be pretext:

Plaintiffs would likely face irreparable harm in the absence of an injunction and would plainly benefit from an injunction, Defendants are not directly harmed by a preliminary injunction preventing them from enforcing a Proclamation likely to be found unconstitutional.

The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday denied certiorari [order list, PDF] in a case involving the 2000 Cole attack, leaving intact the decision [text, PDF] of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website] that the military trial of Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri may proceed.

Al-Nashiri made his first court appearance [JURIST report] in November 2011 after he was captured in Dubai in 2002.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey [official website] filed an amicus curiae brief [text, PDF] Monday in support of a lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump’s directive [text] to reinstate a ban on transgender individuals openly serving in the military.
A jury in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website] convicted [press release] Chelsea bomber Ahmed Khan Rahimi on Monday on indictments related to bombings and attempted bombings in New York City last September.