April 11, 2010
Ojo v. Farmers Group, Inc. (No. 06-55522)
On April 9, 2010, an en banc panel (Chief Judge Kozinski and Circuit Judges Rymer, Hawkins, Graber, McKeown, Fletcher, Gould, Clifton, Milan D. Smith, Jr., Ikuta, and N. Randy Smith) joined the Sixth and Seventh Circuits (rejecting the Fourth Circuit’s contrary holding) and issued an opinion (available here) holding that
“the FHA prohibits racial discrimination in both the denial and pricing of homeowner’s insurance.”
Quick factual Background:Patrick O. Ojo, an African-American Texas resident and owner of a homeowner’s property-and-casualty policy issued by Farmers Group, Inc. sued claiming the Farmers uses a number of “undisclosed factors” in their credit-scoring system that disparately impact minorities in violation of the Federal Fair Housing Act (42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-19).
In a long battle over Native Hawaiian rights, the latest ruling (see case here) turned on whether the public’s right to open court proceedings outweighed an individual’s right to privacy. A series of anti-affirmative action-styled lawsuits have attacked a Native Hawaiian private school’s admissions policy which gives priority to students of Native Hawaiian ancestry. In Doe v. Kamehameha, issued on March 2, 2010, a Ninth Circuit panel ruled that plaintiffs, purporting to be non-Native prospective students, must reveal their identities to sue the school.
Last week, a request was granted for the 9th Circuit to hear an appeal related to document production in Perry v. Schwarzenegger. Although Judge Walker had previously ordered certain groups, including the ACLU, to turn over documents related to the Prop 8 campaign, this ruling is being challenged on confidentiality and constitutional grounds. Same-sex marriage advocates around the country will have to wait a little longer for the outcome of the Prop 8 trial, since Judge Walker is prevented from hearing closing arguments and issuing an opinion while these evidentiary disputes continue.  Briefs from all parties are due on April 9th to address jurisdiction.
 American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU Will Appeal Order to Turn Over Campaign Documents In Prop 8 Challenge, March 23, 2010, available at http://www.aclu.org/lgbt-rights/aclu-will-appeal-order-turn-over-campaign-documents-prop-8-challenge (last accessed April 7, 2010).
An Introductory Note. I am thrilled to be contributing to the Ninth. Immigration appeals are by far the most abundant cases in this circuit, so there will be plenty of decisions to discuss. Immigration is, as with so many administrative bodies of law, complex. I will do my best to provide a bit of background information to each case. At the outset, some abbreviations that are important to note:
IJ: Immigration Judge
AAO: Administrative Appeals Office
EOIR: Executive Office for Immigration Review
BIA: Board of Immigration Appeals
DHS: Department of Homeland Security
USCIS: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services(part of DHS)
ICE: Immigration and Customs Enforcement
CBP: Customs and Border Protection.
On April 19, 2010 the Supreme Court will hear argument in Christian Legal Society ("CLS") v. Martinez. The March 17, 2009, 2 sentence, Ninth Circuit memorandum (Chief Judge Kozinski & Circuit Judges Hug and Bea) held that the University of California, Hastings College of Law "imposes an open membership rule on all student groups - - all groups must accept all comers as voting members even if those individuals disagree withthe mission of the group. The conditions on recognition are therefore viewpoint neutral and reasonable. Truth v. Kent. Sch. Dist., 542 F.3d 634, 649-50 (9th Cir. 2008). AFFIRMED." Ultimately the question is: Whether the Ninth Circuit erred when it held, directly contrary to the Seventh Circuit's decision in Christian Legal Society v. Walker, 453 F.3d 853 (7th Cir. 2006), that the Constitution allows a state law school to deny recognition to a religious student organization because the group requires its officers and voting members to agree with its core religious viewpoints.
Basics. Guerrero-Silva v. Holder, No. 05-77420. (see case here). Guerrero-Silva was convicted under California Penal Code section 11361(b) for (simplified) giving marijana to a child over 14-years old. IJ found him deportable, and BIA affirmed. Question. Is 11361(b) a deportable offense as one "relating to a controlled substance?" Answer. Yes. Because the entire statute (versus only part of the statute) refers to the furshinging/administrating/giving or offering to furnish/admin/give marijuana, then any conviction under the statute relates to a controlled substance. 11361(b) is NOT simple possession and it is NOT solicitation.