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Constitutional

Constitutional -Free Speech – Pregnancy Center – Municipal Ordinance – No Referrals – Abortion & Birth Control (access required)

Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns Inc. v. St. Brigid’s Roman Catholic Congregation Inc. The 4th Circuit upholds summary judgment for a Baltimore “Pregnancy Center” on its challenge to a local ordinance the Center said violated its free speech rights by compelling it to post signs saying the Center did not provide or make referral for abortion or birth control services.

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Constitutional – Dual Office-Holding – Municipal – County Council – County Hospital Board – Bankruptcy (access required)

In re Barnwell County Hospital Even though the S.C. Constitution generally bars an individual from holding two offices of honor or profit at the same time, since the Barnwell County Council has responsibility for and ownership of the assets of the Barnwell County Hospital, members of the County Council may also appoint themselves to the Barnwell County Hospital Board.

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Constitutional – Freedom of Speech – Municipal – Sign Ordinance – ‘Content Neutral’ (access required)

Wag More Dogs LLC v. Cozart An Arlington County sign ordinance that required a doggy daycare business to remove a 960-square foot painting of cartoon dogs on the side of the daycare’s business passes constitutional muster as a content-neutral restriction on speech that survives intermediate scrutiny, the 4th Circuit says.

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Constitutional – Inverse Condemnation Claim – Police Power – Hostage Situation – Damage to Building (access required)

Carolina Convenience Stores, Inc. v. City of Spartanburg Even though plaintiff’s store was damaged while the defendant-city’s police rescued a hostage from her kidnapper, this was an exercise of the city’s police power and not its power of eminent domain. Therefore, plaintiff failed to make out an inverse condemnation claim against the city. We affirm summary judgment for the city.

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Constitutional – 1st & 14th Amendments – Free Speech – Schools & School Boards – Student’s T-Shifts – Confederate Flag & ‘Protest’ (access required)

Hardwick v. Heyward Since all but one of the plaintiff-student’s “protest” t-shirts included depictions of the Confederate flag, most of the shirts could be prohibited without violating the student’s First Amendment rights as decided by this court in its Sept. 8, 2009 order. The final shirt at issue, which depicted the U.S. flag and the words “Old Glory Flew over legalized slavery for 90 years!” could be banned from public school as “plainly offensive.”

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Constitutional – First Amendment – Speech, Association & Petition – 501(c)(4) Group – Political ‘Committee’ – Overbroad Definition (access required)

South Carolinians for Responsible Government v. Krawcheck S.C. Code Ann. § 8-13-1300(6)’s definition of “committee” potentially subjects a group to the statutory burdens of a “committee” based on a single $500 transaction, regardless of whether the transaction was relevant to the organization’s “major purpose” or the $500 expenditure constituted a meaningful portion of the group’s disbursements. Therefore, the definition of “committee” is overbroad and facially unconstitutional.

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Constitutional – Free Speech – Civil Practice – Preliminary Injunction – Occupy Columbia – Camping – State House Grounds (access required)

Occupy Columbia v. Haley Plaintiffs are likely to establish that Occupy Columbia’s camping on the State House grounds is expressive conduct, and defendants’ unwritten and ever-changing “conditions” for such an encampment are not valid time, place and manner restrictions. Defendants are preliminarily enjoined from interfering with plaintiffs’ 24-hour occupation of the State House grounds, including sleeping on the grounds and the use of sleeping bags and tents.

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Constitutional – Due Process – State Constitution – Municipal – Zoning –Housekeeping Unit – Unrelated Persons (access required)

McMaster v. Columbia Board of Zoning Appeals There is a rational relationship between the defendant-city’s decision to limit to three the number of unrelated individuals who may live together as a single housekeeping unit and the legitimate governmental interests of controlling the undesirable qualities associated with mass student congestion. The city’s ordinance does not violate the Due Process Clause of the S.C. Constitution. We affirm the circuit court decision to uphold the ordinance.

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Constitutional – Search & Seizure – Traffic Stop – Administrative – Immigration – Green-Card Check (access required)

U.S. v. Guijon-Ortiz A police officer who questioned a pickup passenger’s alien legal residence card during a routine traffic stop did not violate the passenger’s Fourth Amendment rights when he extended the stop to call the local customs office to check the validity of the passenger’s identification, and the 4th Circuit affirms defendant passenger’s conviction for illegal reentry after deportation in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1326.

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Constitutional – Fourth Amendment – Seizure – Aggressive Dogs – Owners’ Home (access required)

Anderson v. City of Camden Even though privately owned dogs are “effects” subject to the protection of the Fourth Amendment, the law surrounding the state’s right to seize aggressive dogs is too murky to allow the court to say defendants violated a clearly established constitutional right when they seized plaintiffs’ German Shepherds. Defendants’ motion for summary judgment is granted.

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