US Legal News Round Up for Saturday,  3 February 2018 News
US Legal News Round Up for Saturday, 3 February 2018

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

The US Court of Appeals for the Six Circuit affirmed [opinion, PDF] the constitutionality of Ohio’s lethal injection method on Thursday, just two weeks prior to a scheduled execution.

The case stemmed from two death row inmates attempting to prevent their pending executions, claiming that Ohio’s midazolam-based, three-drug execution protocol presents a constitutionally unacceptable risk of pain and suffering.

Pennsylvania Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati [official bio] on Wednesday refused [letter, PDF] to produce legislative district data to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court [official website].
The US Department of Homeland Security [official website] on Wednesday extended [statement] Temporary Protective Status (TPS) for certain Syrian immigrants.
The US Court Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website] overturned a lower court’s ruling that temperatures in Louisiana’s death-row prison cells be kept below 88 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Washington Senate [official website] on Wednesday voted 26-22 [materials] to pass SB 6212 [PDF], which would require insurance providers that cover maternity care to also cover elective abortions and contraception.
The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] on Wednesday adopted [opinion, PDF] a “probable cause” test in assessing losses resultant of fraud under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 [text, PDF].
[JURIST] The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] filed a motion to dismiss corruption charges [motion, PDF] against Senator Bob Menendez [official profile], with the US District Court for the District of New Jersey [official website] Wednesday.

The motion cited the court’s dismissal last week [JURIST report] of 7 out of 18 government charges.

This was the DOJ’s second attempt to convict Menendez on the charges.

The California Senate [official website] approved Senate Bill 227 [materials] Tuesday in an attempt to protect its taxpayers from the recent tax overhaul [JURIST report] and its cap on individual deductions for state and local taxes.

The new federal tax law limits the individual deduction for state and local taxes to $10,000, which mostly hurts wealthier Californians.

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Wednesday that the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPD) [official website] is constitutional.
US President Donald Trump [official profile] signed an executive order [text] Tuesday to continue operations at the Guant√°namo Bay detention center.
A US presidential order decreasing [JURIST report] the area of Bears Ears National Monument in Utah is “outrageous” and should be reversed according to a UN rights expert.
Environmental activists WildEarth Guardians and Defenders of Wildlife [complaints, PDF] filed lawsuits on Tuesday against the Trump administration alleging the recovery plan for the endangered Mexican wolf is so flawed it would lead to the wolf’s extinction.

The Mexican wolf [text] has been on the endangered list since 1976 after increased hunting of the species lead almost to its extinction.

The Secretaries of State from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and South Carolina [official websites] filed a motion [text, PDF] on Monday urging the US Supreme Court to block the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s recent order [JURIST report] striking down the Congressional Redistricting Act of 2011 as violating the state constitution.
Federal Judge David Ezra of the US District Court for the Western District of Texas [official website] on Monday temporarily blocked [order, PDF] a Texas law requiring health facilitates and abortion clinics to bury or cremate fetal remains.
The US Senate voted 51-46 [roll call] on Monday, stopping the advancement of a bill banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The House approved [JURIST Report] the bill in October in a 237-189 vote.

The bill [materials], entitled the Pain Capable Unborn Child Act, was sponsored by South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham [official website].

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] denied review of a Board of Immigrant Appeals (BIA) case on Monday, reasoning that alien minors do not have a constitutional right to court-appointed counsel.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [official website] announced [press release] Friday that it will maintain restrictions on the proposed Pebble Limited Partnership mining project in Alaska’s Bristol Bay region, reversing its prior decision.
A federal judge ruled Friday that a class action lawsuit [opinion, PDF] may proceed against Applebee’s for its mandatory minimum tip policy.

US District Judge Paul Oetken of US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website] ruled that the restaurant needs to disclose the mandatory policy to customers upfront.

Oetken opined that while “tipping is a well-accepting social norm [it] does not defeat plaintiffs’ claims.

New York and Minnesota filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] on Friday in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website] to block the Trump administration from cutting off federal funding to state programs that provide health care to low-income people.

In December the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) [official website] informed both states that, due to Congress not appropriating funds, about 25 percent of federal funding would be cut from New York’s plan and Minnesota would be cut completely.

Both states allege that HHS is cutting federal funding without “adequate justification and in disregard of lawful procedure”, which is legally required to be provided under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) [text, PDF].