Findlaw Case Summaries: Constitutional Law

U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, April 08, 2009 Davis v. Tarrant Cty., No. 07-11223 In a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 action seeking admission to a state system of appointing attorneys in felony cases, the dismissal of the complaint is affirmed, where Plaintiff lacked standing because he failed to show that his application would have been denied had he reapplied for the position after changes in the system. .

U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, April 06, 2009 US v. Benson , No. 08-1312 District court action enjoining defendant from selling materials based on his premise that customers could stop paying federal income taxes and avoid or defeat prosecution by relying on the materials is affirmed where: 1) defendant violated 26 U.S.C. sec. 6700 by selling an illegal method by which to avoid paying taxes, and knew that his statements regarding the illegal plan were false or fraudulent; and 2) the injunction was properly issued and did not violate the First Amendment. Denial of government’s request to require defendant to divulge a list of his customers is reversed where: 1) defendant would not be harmed by identifying his customers and it would serve the public interest for the government to receive the full list; and 2) an order divulging the client list does not infringe on the First Amendment rights of defendant’s customers.

U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, April 09, 2009 City of Joliet v. New West, L.P. , No. 08-3032 In an action involving eminent domain proceedings, district court judgment is affirmed where neither the National Housing Act nor the Multifamily Assisted Housing Reform and Affordability Act preempts state and local condemnation laws.

U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, April 09, 2009 Harris v. Mexican Specialty Foods, Inc., No. 08-13510 In a Fair Credit Reporting Act action based on allegedly inadequate safeguarding of consumer credit information, the dismissal of the complaint is reversed, where the statutory damages provision of the FCRA is not unconstitutionally vague and does not violate the Due Process Clause. .

U.S. D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, April 07, 2009 Lin v. US, No. 08-5078 In an action by Taiwanese nationals seeking U.S. citizenship, the dismissal of the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction is affirmed, where the political questions doctrine precluded the claim because it would require a decision regarding Taiwanese sovereignty. .

U.S. Fed. Circuit Court of Appeals, April 09, 2009 Palmyra Pacific Seafoods, L.L.C. v. U.S., No. 08-5058 In a takings action involving the Palmyra Atoll brought by commercial fishing operations, Court of Federal Claims’ dismissal for failure to state a claim is affirmed where: 1) although the government’s regulation of activities in the waters surrounding Palmyra may have adversely affected the value of plaintiff’s contract rights, that action is not sufficient to constitute a compensable taking; and 2) even if the government regulation targeted plaintiff’s contract rights in order to promote the interests of another party, it still did not constitute a compensable taking, as it regulated conduct in which plaintiff had no protectable property interest