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7th Circuit tosses IU dorm-search lawsuit

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An Indiana University student’s federal lawsuit seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent his one-year suspension was dismissed Friday by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The court in a brief opinion ruled that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction and the case was moot because the student had served his suspension and therefore an injunction, even if granted, would have no force.

In Zachary Medlock v. Trustees of Indiana University, 11-3288, Zachary Medlock argued that a search of his room in the Willkie Residence Center violated his rights under the Fourth and 14th Amendments.

On March 9, 2011, as part of a routine “health and safety inspection,” two university resident assistants searched Medlock’s dorm room for safety hazards. Medlock was not present at the time of the search. When the RAs entered the room, they discovered marijuana in plain sight, and they notified university police.

Medlock subsequently was suspended for a year and unsuccessfully exhausted I.U.’s appeal process before he filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, where his request for an injunction was denied.
 
Judge William Bauer wrote that the court didn’t need to examine the District Court’s determination that neither of Medlock’s rights violations claims had a reasonable likelihood of success.

“We need not consider these issues; we lack subject-matter jurisdiction in this appeal and therefore must dismiss it,” Bauer wrote. “Article III of the Constitution limits federal courts’ scope of judicial review to live cases and controversies. … Even if we were to decide that Medlock’s constitutional rights had been violated, a preliminary injunction would do him no good. There is simply nothing left to enjoin.”


 

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  1. Whether you support "gay marriage" or not is not the issue. The issue is whether the SCOTUS can extract from an unmentionable somewhere the notion that the Constitution forbids government "interference" in the "right" to marry. Just imagine time-traveling to Philadelphia in 1787. Ask James Madison if the document he and his fellows just wrote allowed him- or forbade government to "interfere" with- his "right" to marry George Washington? He would have immediately- and justly- summoned the Sergeant-at-Arms to throw your sorry self out into the street. Far from being a day of liberation, this is a day of capitulation by the Rule of Law to the Rule of What's Happening Now.

  2. With today's ruling, AG Zoeller's arguments in the cases of Obamacare and Same-sex Marriage can be relegated to the ash heap of history. 0-fer

  3. She must be a great lawyer

  4. Ind. Courts - "Illinois ranks 49th for how court system serves disadvantaged" What about Indiana? A story today from Dave Collins of the AP, here published in the Benton Illinois Evening News, begins: Illinois' court system had the third-worst score in the nation among state judiciaries in serving poor, disabled and other disadvantaged members of the public, according to new rankings. Illinois' "Justice Index" score of 34.5 out of 100, determined by the nonprofit National Center for Access to Justice, is based on how states serve people with disabilities and limited English proficiency, how much free legal help is available and how states help increasing numbers of people representing themselves in court, among other issues. Connecticut led all states with a score of 73.4 and was followed by Hawaii, Minnesota, New York and Delaware, respectively. Local courts in Washington, D.C., had the highest overall score at 80.9. At the bottom was Oklahoma at 23.7, followed by Kentucky, Illinois, South Dakota and Indiana. ILB: That puts Indiana at 46th worse. More from the story: Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, Colorado, Tennessee and Maine had perfect 100 scores in serving people with disabilities, while Indiana, Georgia, Wyoming, Missouri and Idaho had the lowest scores. Those rankings were based on issues such as whether interpretation services are offered free to the deaf and hearing-impaired and whether there are laws or rules allowing service animals in courthouses. The index also reviewed how many civil legal aid lawyers were available to provide free legal help. Washington, D.C., had nearly nine civil legal aid lawyers per 10,000 people in poverty, the highest rate in the country. Texas had the lowest rate, 0.43 legal aid lawyers per 10,000 people in poverty. http://indianalawblog.com/archives/2014/11/ind_courts_illi_1.html

  5. A very thorough opinion by the federal court. The Rooker-Feldman analysis, in particular, helps clear up muddy water as to the entanglement issue. Looks like the Seventh Circuit is willing to let its district courts cruise much closer to the Indiana Supreme Court's shorelines than most thought likely, at least when the ADA on the docket. Some could argue that this case and Praekel, taken together, paint a rather unflattering picture of how the lower courts are being advised as to their duties under the ADA. A read of the DOJ amicus in Praekel seems to demonstrate a less-than-congenial view toward the higher echelons in the bureaucracy.

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