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U.S. Fourth Circuit

4th Circuit Says Protecting Moral Sensibilities Justifies Ban on Topless Female Beachgoers

By Joseph Fawbush, Esq.

The Fourth Circuit recently upheld an Ocean City, Maryland, ordinance prohibiting women from exposing their breasts in public, including on the city's popular public beaches. The lawsuit arose in 2017, when four local women in the small tourist town asked the City if there was any law prohibiting them from going topless at the beach. There was no such law on the books at the time, but in response, the city passed an ordinance banning public nudity. The ban specifically prohibits the baring of female breasts, but does not prohibit male toplessness.

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4th Circuit Rules Baltimore Air Surveillance Program Unconstitutional

By Laura Temme, Esq.

A divided en banc Fourth Circuit recently held the Baltimore Police Department's Aerial Investigation Research (AIR) pilot program violated the Fourth Amendment. The six-month program involved flying planes over the city for 40 hours a week, aimed at battling crime through increased surveillance. Background The plaintiffs, grassroots community activists represented by the ACLU, tried to stop the AIR program before it started. But U.S. District Court Judge Richard D.

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Landmark Trial Against Opioid Distributors Begins in West Virginia

By Laura Temme, Esq.

Arguments began this week in a West Virginia federal court in what will likely be a groundbreaking trial for those affected by the opioid epidemic. The City of Huntington and Cabell County have pushed forward their claims against the nation's three largest drug distributors - McKesson Corp., AmerisourceBergen Corp., and Cardinal Health - despite settlements in thousands of other related lawsuits.

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Fourth Circuit Holds Anti-Riot Act Partially in Violation of First Amendment

By Joseph Fawbush, Esq.

Not since 1968 has America experienced the social upheaval currently enveloping the country. One of the events that triggered the current unrest was the infamous “Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Two white supremacists who attended that event were Michael Paul Miselis and Benjamin Drake Daley. The two racists sought out and engaged in violent behavior and were convicted of, among other things, violating the Anti-Riot Act.

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Winner Take All Electoral College System in South Carolina Is Constitutional

By Joseph Fawbush, Esq.

More questions have been raised about the legitimacy of this year's election than at any time in modern history. The Electoral College itself has faced political and popular scrutiny like never before. Many Americans take issue with the fact that it isn't the American people who directly elect a President by popular vote. Rather, the votes that count are through "Electors" who don't appear on the ballot.

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Fourth Circuit Says Climate Lawsuit Against Energy Companies Belongs in State Court

By Joseph Fawbush, Esq.

We've previously written about three separate but related lawsuits against energy companies alleging that they knowingly lied and engaged in misinformation campaigns about the risks of climate change. In all three, which were brought in state courts, venue has been a hotly contested issue. On Friday, March 6, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals became the first U.S. appeals court to weigh in on whether state courts can hear these cases.

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