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5th Cir. Marches On, Right, Left, Right

By William Vogeler, Esq. on April 18, 2019 10:00 AM

Someone said decisions from the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals are so far right they are practically left. That was five years ago.

Since then, President Trump has named five judges to the the appeals court. It's fair to say the court is marching right along as usual. For example, the Fifth Circuit has managed to stir liberal critics into a frenzy while getting cheers from conservatives in three recent decisions.

And that's just the first few months of the year. Here is a round up of a few key decisions from the good ol' 5th:  

The Transgender Rule

In an opinion piece about Gibson v. Collier, attorney Max Kennerly called the Fifth Circuit's majority opinion "outrageous, an example of the very worst sort of result-driven judicial activism." He accused the judges of publishing their personal opinions rather than following the law.

Bottom line: The Fifth Circuit said transgender workers are not covered by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That may be outrageous in other jurisdictions, but it's the law in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

Obamacare at Risk

Meanwhile, the Trump administration asked the appeals court to throw out the Affordable Care Act.In a letter to the Fifth Circuit, government attorneys said the health care law is unconstitutional. They asked the appeals court to affirm a lower court in Texas v. United States which some say will end Obamacare.

Big Win for Big Energy

In Parrish v. Premier Directional Drilling L.P., the Fifth Circuit explained how companies can establish independent contractor relationships. Labor attorney Lionel Schooler said it was a landmark decision and a big win for energy companies. He called it is "a blueprint" for companies to structure contractor relationships that qualify as exempt from overtime requirements.

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