Justia Government & Administrative Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals
Spectrum Five LLC v. FCC
This petition involves Bermuda's efforts to secure rights from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to operate a satellite at the 96.2 degree W.L. orbital location. Bermuda partnered with EchoStar to deploy and maintain its satellite at this orbital location. Meanwhile, the Netherlands also sought rights from the ITU to operate a satellite at a nearby orbital location. Petitioner, Spectrum Five, a developer and operator of satellites working in partnership with the Netherlands, filed an objection to the FCC to EchoStar's request to move its satellite from 76.8 degrees W.L. to 96.2 degrees W.L. The FCC granted EchoStar's request and determined that Bermuda secured rights to the 96.2 degree W.L. orbital location. Spectrum Five petitioned for review of the Commission's order, claiming principally that the Commission acted arbitrarily and capriciously. The court dismissed the petition for lack of Article III standing because Spectrum Five failed to demonstrate a significant likelihood that a decision of this court would redress its alleged injury. View "Spectrum Five LLC v. FCC" on Justia Law
National Mining Assoc., et al. v. Jackson, et al.
The States of West Virginia and Kentucky, along with coal mining companies and trade associations, challenged EPA and Corps' Enhanced Coordination Process memorandum, which applied to National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit applications that were stalled because of litigation, and the EPA's Final Guidance. The court concluded that EPA and the Corps acted within their statutory authority when they adopted the Enhanced Coordination Process. Under the court's precedents, the Final Guidance is not a final action reviewable by the courts at this time. If and when an applicant is denied a permit, the applicant at that time may challenge the denial of the permit as unlawful. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment to plaintiffs and remanded with directs to grant judgment for the Government on the Enhanced Coordination Process claim and to dismiss plaintiffs' challenge to the Final Guidance. View "National Mining Assoc., et al. v. Jackson, et al." on Justia Law
Select Specialty Hospital – Bloomington, Inc., et al. v. Burwell
Appellants, a group of long-term care hospitals, challenged the Secretary's determination that, because the organizations operate out of buildings previously owned by hospital entities, they are not "new hospitals." The court concluded that the Secretary's conclusion was arbitrary and capricious because the court could not tell how the Secretary arrived at this conclusion. Accordingly, the reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of appellees and remanded with instructions. View "Select Specialty Hospital - Bloomington, Inc., et al. v. Burwell" on Justia Law
New England Power Gen. Assoc. v. FERC
Petitioners sought review of FERC's orders affecting the administration of the Independent System Operator-New England (ISO-NE) and specifically directed to curtailment of the exercise of market power in the New England energy market. The court held that FERC has jurisdiction to regulate the parameters comprising the Forward Capacity Market, and that applying offer-floor mitigation fits within the Commission's statutory rate-making power. The court concluded that none of the petitioners established that FERC has committed reversible error and the court denied the petition for review. View "New England Power Gen. Assoc. v. FERC" on Justia Law
Mittleman v. Postal Regulatory Commission
Petitioners unsuccessfully opposed the closures of three post offices by the Postal Service, unsuccessfully appealed the Postal Service's determinations to the Commission, and now seek to review the Commission's decisions. The court concluded that, because the petitioners in the Spring Dale case have received all the relief they sought, their petition is moot and must be dismissed. As to the remaining two petitions regarding the Pimmit Branch and the Venice Post Office, the court denied the petitions because neither the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 500 et seq., review nor non-statutory review of the Commission's decision is available. View "Mittleman v. Postal Regulatory Commission" on Justia Law
NO Gas Pipeline v. FERC
The city of Jersey City and a coalition of environmental groups filed separate petitions challenging FERC's order granting a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the construction of a natural gas pipeline connecting New York and New Jersey. The court concluded that it could not consider the merits of the petitions where the environmental petitioners lacked Article III standing as an association; the court did not have original jurisdiction over claims arising from the Budget Act, Pub.L. 105-33, 111 Stat. 251; and the court rejected the City's remaining standing claims. Accordingly, the court dismissed the petitions for lack of jurisdiction. View "NO Gas Pipeline v. FERC" on Justia Law
Sheble, III v. Huerta, et al.
Petitioner challenged the FAA's revocation of his Designated Pilot Examiner appointment based on deficiencies in his performance. Petitioner argued that the FAA failed to follow its own procedures and that one of his FAA evaluators labored under a conflict of interest. The court concluded that plaintiff's termination letter substantially complied with an FAA order and, moreover, plaintiff failed to demonstrate prejudice from the alleged deficiencies in the specificity of his termination letter. Further, plaintiff failed to show that any improper conflict of interest affected the decision to terminate his appointment. Accordingly, the court denied the petition for review. View "Sheble, III v. Huerta, et al." on Justia Law
Sorenson Communications Inc., et al. v. FCC, et al.
Sorenson is a purveyor of telephones for the hearing-impaired that have words scrolling on a screen during a call. Sorenson's technology uses the Internet to transmit and receive both the call itself and the derived captions (IP CTS). Sorenson gives its phones out for free, with the captioning feature turned on. On appeal, Sorenson challenged the FCC's promulgation of rules regarding IP CTS under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq. The court concluded that the FCC's rule requiring all new users to register and self-certify their hearing loss, but only if the provider sold the IP CTS equipment for $75 or more, was arbitrary and capricious because the FCC failed to articulate a satisfactory explanation for its action. Further, the FCC's requirement that IP CTS phones "have a default setting of captions off, so that all IP CTS users must affirmatively turn on captioning," was unsupported by the evidence and, rather, contradicted by it. Accordingly, the court granted the petitions for review. View "Sorenson Communications Inc., et al. v. FCC, et al." on Justia Law
Kuretski, et al. v. Commissioner of IRS
After taxpayers failed to pay federal income taxes for the 2007 tax year, the IRS assessed the unpaid amount plus penalties and interest, and then attempted to collect them from taxpayers by means of a levy on the couple's home. Taxpayers unsuccessfully challenged the proposed levy in the Tax Court. On appeal, taxpayers contend that the Tax Court judge may have been biased in favor of the IRS in a manner that infringed the constitutional separation of powers. The court held that 26 U.S.C. 7443(f) did not infringe the constitutional separation of powers. Even if the prospect of "interbranch" removal of a Tax Court judge would raise a constitutional concern in theory, there is no cause for concern in fact: the Tax Court exercises Executive authority as part of the Executive Branch. Presidential removal of a Tax Court judge thus would constitute an intra-branch removal. The court rejected taxpayers' remaining claims and affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Kuretski, et al. v. Commissioner of IRS" on Justia Law
Natl’ Treasury Employees Union v. FLRA
The Union petitioned for review of the FLRA's decision finding, inter alia, that the IRS did not commit an unfair labor practice when Union representatives were excluded from "suitability" interviews of "covered" IRS personnel conducted by OPM investigators. Determining that it had jurisdiction to decide the Union's petition for review, the court concluded that the Authority reasonably construed the "representative of the agency" language in 5 U.S.C. 7114(a)(2)(B) to support a function and control analysis in determining its applicability vel non, and that the Authority's application of its interpretation to OPM-conducted suitability interviews of covered IRS personnel was not "arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law." Accordingly, the court denied the petition for review. View "Natl' Treasury Employees Union v. FLRA" on Justia Law