Writer’s Weekly Picks

As you may know, Justia provides free daily opinion summaries for all state supreme courts and the federal courts of appeal. We’ve asked our talented attorney writers to send us the most interesting, funny, or important cases they come across each week, and we’ll run them as a column here on the blog.

Awad v. Ziriax, et. al., US Ct. App. 10th Cir.
This case made the news this week, when the 10th Circuit upheld an injunction against a controversial ballot initiative in Oklahoma that would amend the state constitution to prevent courts from considering or using Sharia law. Plaintiff argued that this law would violate his rights under the Free Exercise and Establishment clause of the Constitution. The 10th Circuit found that his claims were justiciable, and upheld a preliminary injunction against the law.

Carter v. Lehi City, 2012 UT 2 (Utah Supreme Court)
Carter also involved a ballot initiative. In this case, the court allowed municipal initiatives regulating salaries and residency requirements for city employees to stand. To do so, the court repudiated the framework set forth by a previous case, Citizens Awareness Now v. Marakis, 873 P.2d 1117 (Ut. Sup. Ct. 1994).

Texas Medical Providers, et. al. v. Lakey et al., US Ct. App. 5th Cir.
This case also made national news this week, as the 5th Circuit vacated an injunction barring enforcement of a controversial consent law for abortion procedures in Texas. The law compels physicians to take and display sonogram images of the fetus, and make the patient listen to its heartbeat, explain the results of both exams, and have her sign a consent form before performing an abortion. The court held that the provisions were within the state’s power to regulate the practice of medicine and did not violate the First Amendment.

Conn v. Zacharov, US Ct. App. 6th Cir.
Finally, one of our writers pointed us to this case, with a humorous pearl of wisdom from Judge Batchelder. The judge opens the opinion, about jurisdiction over a Russian-American contract dispute, with this:

An old Russian proverb states, “If you’re afraid of wolves, don’t go into the forest.” For Appellant Richard A. Conn the proverb might well read, “If you’re afraid of the Russian legal system, don’t do business in Russia.”