CINCINNATI - The 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has granted the federal government's request for a rehearing on the 2257 federal record-keeping law struck down as unconstitutional by a 6th Circuit panel last October.
The government filed its petition for a rehearing on the 6th Circuit ruling in January. While the decision to move forward with an en banc rehearing of the panel decision is bad news for the porn business, it comes as no surprise.
"When any kind of federal statute is struck down, there's a much higher likelihood of an en banc hearing being granted than there is with any other form of ruling," attorney Jeffrey Douglas told AVN. "While this news is certainly disappointing because of how bad the law is, it can't be characterized as surprising."
An en banc (or 'full court') rehearing means that all of the circuit court's non-senior judges will participate in the rehearing, along with any senior judge present on the original panel. By Douglas' calculations, a total of 14 judges will weigh in on the 6th Circuit decision.
"There is no time limit, so God only knows when they'll rule on this," Douglas said, noting that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals took over 20 months to convene following oral arguments in the Ashcroft vs. Free Speech Coalition ruling.
The original panel ruling striking down 2257 as unconstitutional and overbroad was the result of a long, hard-fought battle by Rondee Kamins of GVA and attorney J. Michael Murray. The rehearing could overturn a major victory for the adult industry - but Douglas remains hopeful."Because the opinion by the panel was so well-written and well thought-out, and because of my confidence in [attorney] Mike Murray, I'm still optimistic that this is going to come out right," Douglas said.