Justia Government & Administrative Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
by
The First Circuit denied Petitioners' petition for review in this action challenging a final rule promulgated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that set the framework through which applicants may register to lawfully manufacture and cultivate cannabis for research purposes, holding that Petitioners were not entitled to relief on their claims.Petitioners - Dr. Lyle Craker, a botany professor, and Scottsdale Research Institute (SRI), a clinical research company - brought this action raising two perceived procedural defects with the DEA's notice of proposed rulemaking that would demand that the final rule be set aside. The First Circuit denied relief, holding (1) Petitioners were not entitled to relief on their claim that the APA required the DEA to include more detail about the legal basis of the proposed rule; (2) the proposed rule did not exceed the DEA's rulemaking authority; (3) Petitioners' challenge to the DEA's definition of "medicinal cannabis" was unavailing; and (4) the DEA's new regulatory framework for registrations was not arbitrary, capricious, or otherwise contrary to law. View "Craker v. U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration" on Justia Law

by
In this dispute between the Maine lobster industry and the National Marine Fisheries Service (the Agency) over a rule barring frequently employed methods of lobstering the First Circuit lifted its issuance of a preliminary injunction and remanded the case for further proceedings, holding that Plaintiffs were unlikely to succeed on the merits of their claim.Plaintiffs, a union of oyster fishers and fishing companies, challenged a regulation issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service in August 2021 that prohibited lobster fishing with vertical buoy lines in certain areas during certain times of year. After the district court granted a preliminary injunction enjoining enforcement of the seasonal disclosure, the government and conservation grounds sought a stay of the order. The First Circuit first stayed the preliminary injunction and then vacated the injunction, holding that Plaintiffs were unlikely to succeed on the merits of their claim. View "District 4 Lodge of the International Ass'n v. Raimondo" on Justia Law

by
The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court rejecting Appellants' argument that the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico acted arbitrarily and capriciously in objecting to four laws enacted by the Puerto Rico legislature, holding that there was no error or abuse of discretion.In legislation addressing Puerto Rico's fiscal crisis, the Board was given the authority to object to and block the implementation of local laws that are "significantly inconsistent" with efforts to the Commonwealth to fiscal solvency. The Commonwealth filed suit in 2020 seeking a declaration that, for each of the four laws in question, the Commonwealth had complied with federal compliance certification requirements. The Board filed counterclaims requesting injunctive relief barring the implementation and enforcement of each law. The district court upheld the laws. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the Board did not act arbitrarily and capriciously in exercising its authority under the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act. View "Pierluisi v. Financial Oversight & Management Board for Puerto Rico" on Justia Law

by
The First Circuit granted a petition for review of a ruling by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) that affirmed the final order of removal entered against Petitioner pursuant to 8 U.S.C. 1229-1229a and vacated the BIA's ruling,Petitioner conceded removability but sought relief from removal based on asylum and withholding of removal, as well as the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The immigration judge (IJ) denied the applications, and the BIA affirmed. The First Circuit vacated the BIA's ruling in part, holding (1) Petitioner was not entitled to relief on his assertion of bias; and (2) because the BIA upheld an adverse credibility determination that the IJ reached in part based on an inconsistency in Petitioner's story that simply was not an inconsistency, the BIA's ruling affirming the IJ's denial of that claim must be vacated. View "Pujols v. Garland" on Justia Law

by
The First Circuit granted in part a petition for review from Petitioner in which Petitioner challenged the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirming the immigration judge's (IJ) denial of Petitioner's request for deferral of removal pursuant to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading treatment or Punishment (CAT), holding that the BIA's decision was not supported by substantial evidence.Petitioner, a noncitizen who was granted asylum in 2002, was served with a notice to appear from removal proceedings. The notice alleged that Petitioner was subject to removal from the United States pursuant to 8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(2)(A)(i)(II) and 1182(a)(2)(C) based on his prior Massachusetts state law convictions. Ali submitted to the IJ an application for asylum, for withholding of removal, and protection under the CAT, asserting that he was be subject to torture in Somalia. The IJ sustained the charges and ordered Petitioner removed to Somalia. The BIA affirmed. The First Circuit vacated the BIA's order, holding that the BIA did not address Petitioner's contention that the IJ failed to consider relevant evidence concerning the torture that Petitioner would face from private militias and armed criminals, and the failure to consider that evidence was not harmless. View "Ali v. Garland" on Justia Law

by
The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the court charged with overseeing proceedings under Title III of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act confirming a plan of adjustment for the debts of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and two of its instrumentalities, holding that there was no error or abuse of discretion.In this case arising out of the effort to restructure the Commonwealth's sovereign debt under Title IIII, various organizations that represented some public school teachers and educators participating in the Commonwealth's pension system objected to the manner in which the plan of adjustment handled their claims to current and future pension payments. The Title III court approved the plan of adjustment over Appellants' objections. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Appellants' arguments on appeal failed. View "Financial Oversight & Management Board for Puerto Rico v. Federacion de Maestros de Puerto Rico, Inc." on Justia Law

by
The First Circuit granted a petition for review sought by Petitioner from the denial of Petitioner's application for cancellation of removal and request for voluntary departure, holding that the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) failed to apply clear error review to the immigration judge's (IJ) finding that Petitioner's removal was extreme hardship to Petitioner's father.Petitioner conceded removability but applied for cancellation of removal and for voluntary departure. Petitioner met the statutory prerequisites for each. The IJ took evidence on the discretionary factors and found that Petitioner merited a favorable exercise of administrative discretion. The BIA reversed, concluding that Petitioner merited neither cancellation of removal or voluntary departure. The First Circuit remanded the case for further proceedings, holding that the BIA impermissibly changed the IJ's factual finding that Petitioner's removal was hardship to his father. View "Barros v. Garland" on Justia Law

by
The First Circuit affirmed the ruling of the district court denying Plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction in this case arising from a decision by the Speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives to enforce a House rule precluding any representative from participating in proceedings involving the full House, including House matters, other than in person, holding that there was no error.At issue in this COVID-19 pandemic-related case was whether Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (RHA) authorizes a federal court to resolve a dispute among members of a state legislative body about whether votes on bills may be cast remotely rather than in person. The underlying suit named Sherman Packard, the Speaker of the House, in his official capacity. The district court denied a preliminary injunction based on the Speaker's assertion of legislative immunity. A panel of the First Circuit first vacated the injunction, but the Court subsequently granted a rehearing en banc. The First Circuit then affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in holding that the Speaker's assertion of legislative immunity prevented Plaintiffs from obtaining their requested relief. View "Cushing v. Packard" on Justia Law

by
The First Circuit vacated the order of the district court denying in part Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment and granting in part Defendants' motion for summary judgment, holding that the case must be dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies.Parents brought this case alleging dissatisfaction with the individualized education plan offered to their son by the Puerto Rico Department of Education. Rather than file an administrative appeal, which was available to them, Parents brought suit in the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico. After issuing orders during a period of several years the district court issued an amended opinion and order denying in part Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment and granting in part Defendants' motion for summary judgment. The First Circuit vacated the district court's judgment and remanded the case with instructions to dismiss, holding that the district court erred in finding that Parents did not need to exhaust their administrative remedies. View "Valentin-Marrero v. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico" on Justia Law

by
The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for review of a final order of removal issued by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), holding that the immigration judge (IJ) and BIA properly concluded that Petitioner's Massachusetts conviction for accessory after the fact rendered him removable as an aggravated felon.The U.S. Department of Homeland Security initiated removal proceedings against Petitioner. An IJ held that Petitioner was removable under the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii) for having committed an aggravated felony, as defined under 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(43). As relevant to this appeal, the IJ held that Petitioner's Massachusetts accessory-after-the-fact conviction was categorically an offense relating to obstruction of justice and so was a proper ground for removal as an aggravated felony. The BIA denied Petitioner's appeal. The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for review, holding that the BIA did not err in determining that Petitioner's Massachusetts conviction rendered him ineligible for withholding of removal. View "Silva v. Garland" on Justia Law