Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

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The DC Circuit reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the FBI in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552 et seq., case regarding information related to the use of undercover tactics involving impersonation of the media and creation of fake news. The court held that the FBI failed to demonstrate that it conducted a search for the requested records, using methods which could be reasonably expected to produce the information requested. Because material factual questions remained as to the adequacy of the FBI's search, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press v. FBI" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit dismissed NTCH's petition for review of an Enforcement Bureau order based on lack of jurisdiction. The court held that it had no jurisdiction to entertain NTCH's challenge to the order issued by the Bureau because NTCH did not first seek review with the Commission as a condition precedent to judicial review. The court further held that, even if NTCH's claim fell within the compass of 47 U.S.C. 208(b), the court still did not have jurisdiction to address it. In this case, the order issued by the Bureau was not an order of the Commission. View "NTCH, Inc. v. FCC" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to National Archives in an action filed by Judicial Watch under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552 et seq., seeking disclosure of all versions of indictments against Hillary Rodham Clinton arising out of the Independent Counsel's investigation begun in 1994. The court held that Judicial Watch failed to demonstrate exceptional interests warranting disclosure of a draft indictment that implicated serious privacy concerns. Nor did Judicial Watch show that a segregability analysis was not conducted. View "Judicial Watch, Inc. v. NARA" on Justia Law

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This appeal involved the Company's effort to have declared invalid a Crossing Agreement entered into in 2012 by Michigan State officials and the Government of Canada to build another bridge spanning the Detroit River, within two miles of the Ambassador Bridge. The DC Circuit held that the district court properly granted summary judgment as to Count 7, which alleged that the Secretary failed to inquire adequately into Michigan law and, to the extent an inquiry was made, the Secretary's action was arbitrary and capricious. The court reasoned that neither the plain text of Section 3 nor other provisions of the International Bridge Act (IBA), 33 U.S.C. 535 et seq., require the Secretary to inquire into state law. Therefore, the Secretary did not clearly err in approving the Crossing Agreement and the court affirmed summary judgment. The court also held that the district court properly dismissed Counts 2 and 3, which alleged that approval of the Crossing Agreement was unlawful because it contradicted federal laws; Count 1, which alleged a non-delegation claim; and Count 6, which alleged that the issuance of a Presidential Permit by the Secretary of State was final agency action, regardless of whether this authority was delegated by the President, and thus it was reviewable. View "Detroit International Bridge Co. v. Government of Canada" on Justia Law

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After the Sixth Circuit ruled that CMS's method for counting hospital beds conflicted with the plain language of the applicable regulation, CMS amended the regulation to permit its preferred counting method but applied the Sixth Circuit's interpretation to hospitals located within that circuit until the revised regulation took effect. The DC Circuit held that the agency acted reasonably given that obeying judicial decisions was usually what courts expect agencies to do. View "Grant Medical Center v. Hargan" on Justia Law

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At issue in this case was whether the provisions in the Master Agreement between the Agency and the Union covered a matter with respect to which the parties had a dispute after the Master Agreement was signed. The Agency argued that the DC Circuit's decision in BOP I, 654 F.3d 91 (D.C. Cir. 2011), was controlling. In BOP I, the court held that "Article 18 covers and preempts challenges to all specific outcomes of the assignment process." The court held, in accord with BOP I, that the subject of consolidated relief rosters was covered by Article 18 of the Master Agreement. Accordingly, the court granted the petition for review and reversed the decision of the Authority. View "DOJ v. FLRA" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for the government in an action seeking information regarding an Assistant United States Attorney. The government withheld a termination letter that it had sent to the Assistant, but turned over most of the approximately 3,600 pages of exhibits supporting the proposed termination letter. The court held that privacy interests sufficiently outweighed the limited public interest in the letter to make its disclosure clearly unwarranted. The court also rejected plaintiff's request for modification of the judgment. View "Bloomgarden v. DOJ" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit reversed the district court's order, pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request, directing the government to release health insurance plans to be offered "each year" on the federal exchanges under the Affordable Care Act once their terms are effectively final, or "locked down." As a preliminary matter, the court held that the government's arguments were neither waived or forfeited. The court held that the district court failed to make a finding that the agency was adhering to a policy or practice that it acknowledged as impermissible nor did the district court find the agency was likely to continue on to impair Consumers' Checkbook's lawful access to the information in the future. Furthermore, the district court did not find that the agency invoked Exemption 4 solely for purposes of delay, effectively flaunting the statutory scheme, much less that its invocation was frivolous on its face. View "Center for the Study of Services v. HHS" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit denied the petition for review of the FCC's decision regarding the nationwide emergency alert system. Under the FCC's decision, when broadcasters receive emergency alerts from government entities, the broadcasters may, if they choose, broadcast the alerts only in English. The court held that Section 1 of the Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. 151, does not obligate the FCC to require broadcasters to translate emergency alerts and broadcast them in languages in addition to English. The court further held that it was not unreasonable for the FCC to gather more information from relevant parties before deciding whether to compel broadcasters to translate emergency alerts and broadcast them in languages in addition to English. View "Multicultural Media v. FCC" on Justia Law

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The Animal Welfare Act's (AWA), 7 U.S.C. 2133, compliance demonstration requirement does not unambiguously preclude USDA's license renewal scheme and the scheme is not facially unreasonable. In this case, plaintiffs filed suit challenging the USDA's most recent renewal of a license for animal exhibitors (Cricket Hollow Zoo), alleging that, at the time of the renewal, the agency was aware that Cricket Hollow was in violation of numerous animal welfare requirements under the Act and its implementing regulations. The DC Circuit held that the agency's renewal scheme was consistent with the demonstration requirement in section 2133. Because the agency's decision to renew the Cricket Hollow Zoo license was made in compliance with that regulatory scheme, it was not inconsistent with the Act. Therefore, the court affirmed the district court's judgment on the statutory claim; vacated the district court's order granting the Government's motion to dismiss plaintiffs' arbitrary and capricious claim; and remanded to the district court with instructions to remand the record to the agency for further proceedings. View "Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Perdue" on Justia Law