Findlaw Case Summaries: Constitutional Law 16

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May 11-15, 2009.

U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, May 12, 2009 Midi v. Holder, No. 08-1367 Petitioner’s petition for review of the BIA’s order removing her from the U.S. is denied, where: 1) the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) does not apply to immigrants seeking relief pursuant to the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act; and 2) the BIA’s construction of the CSPA did not violate the Equal Protection Clause.

U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, May 13, 2009 Iota Xi Chapter of Sigma Chi Fraternity v. Patterson, No. 08-1417 In an action by a fraternity at a public university claiming that disciplinary action against it violated the First Amendment, summary judgment for Defendants is affirmed, where: 1) the university did not deprive Plaintiff’s members of associational rights; and 2) the sanctions imposed on the chapter were reasonable. ..

U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, May 13, 2009 US v. Tom, No. 08-2345 District court judgment granting defendant’s motion to dismiss petition having have him civilly committed as a sexually dangerous person is reversed where: 1) the court erred in finding the 18 U.S.C. sec. 4248 (the Adam Walsh Act) was an unconstitutional exercise of Congress’s powers under the Commerce Clause, as Congress is empowered by the Commerce Clause to criminalize and punish the conduct of which defendant is guilty and has the ancillary authority under the Necessary and Proper Clause to provide for defendant’s civil commitment; and 2) 18 U.S.C. sec. 4248 does not upset the delicate federal state balance mandated by the Constitution.

U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, May 13, 2009 US v. Hacker , No. 08-2427 District court’s denial of defendant’s motion to dismiss an indictment charging him with failing to register as a sex offender is affirmed where: 1) the registration and penalty provisions of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act are valid exercises of Congress’ authority under the Commerce Clause; 2) defendant lacks standing to raise a Tenth Amendment challenge to the act; 3) defendant lacks standing to assert that Congress impermissibly delegated to the Attorney General the authority to determine the Act’s retroactive effect; and 4) defendant lacks standing to challenge the Attorney General’s interim rule on Administrative Procedure Act grounds.

U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, May 13, 2009 Travis v. Park City Mun. Corp., No. 08-4115 In an action claiming that Defendant-City’s requirement that Plaintiff obtain a permit to display his art in a park violated the First Amendment, summary judgment for Defendant is affirmed, where the regulation was content-neutral and did not burden more speech than was necessary to serve legitimate government interests.

U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, May 11, 2009 Abdur-Rahman v. Walker, No. 08-12345 In a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 action based on Plaintiffs’ discharge by the state Department of Public Works for reporting violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA), judgment on the pleadings for Defendants is affirmed, where there is no private right of action for violating the CWA and Plaintiffs’ reports were not citizen speech under the First Amendment.

U.S. D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, May 15, 2009 Winder v. Erste, No. 08-7068 In a wrongful termination action alleging that Defendant retaliated against Plaintiff for reporting supervisors’ misconduct, summary judgment for Defendant is affirmed in part, where Plaintiff failed to provide pre-suit notice of his Whistleblower Act claims, but reversed in part, where there was an issue of material fact as to whether Plaintiff was an at-will employee.

New York Court of Appeals, May 12, 2009 Khrapunskiy v. Doar, No. 52 In an action by disabled legal resident aliens who were ineligible for SSI payments due to their non-citizenship, judgment for Plaintiffs is reversed, where Article XVII of the New York Constitution does not compel the state to assume the federal government’s obligation when a disabled person becomes ineligible for SSI benefits.

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