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Judicial Reform Sixth Circuit

United States Court of Appeals: 6th Circuit

At Risk
Total Judgeships: 

16 (1 vacancy)

Political Makeup: 

5 Dem – 10 GOP

Cincinnati, Ohio
Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee


About The Court:

The Sixth Circuit Court was established on December 10, 1869 and has the highest frequency of cases reversed by the Supreme Court, with a record of 24 out of 25 cases in the 2008-2013 term. William Howard Taft, the only person ever to serve as both President and Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, served on the Sixth Circuit.


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Danger of the Rational Basis Test

Wed, 01/15/2014

Maxwell’s Pic-Pac, Inc. v. Dehner: A group of grocers sued the Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control over a law prohibiting businesses that sell staple groceries or gasoline at a rate of at least 10% of gross monthly sales from applying for a license to sell wine and liquor. The grocers argued that the law violated equal-protection rights, the separation of powers principle, and due process rights. The District Court ruled in favor of the grocers on the equal-protection claim, but rejected the other claims.


The Sixth Circuit Court, applying the rational basis test, reversed on the equal-protection claim. According to the rational basis test, as long as the government is using rational means to pursue a legitimate end, the legislation passes the test. In this particular case, the Sixth Circuit reasoned that the government's legitimate end was to reduce access to alcohol.

Read the full decision here

Employment Discrimination is a Slippery Slope

Fri, 12/13/2013

Henschel v. Clare County Road Commission: Wayne Henschel worked as an excavator operator for Clare County Road Commission (CCRC) until he was in a debilitating motorcycle accident. Following testing, he was allowed to retain his license to drive automatic-transmission vehicles. As a result, he could operate the excavator, but he could not haul it to the workplace. He asked if the company could find another worker to haul it, but CCRC did not. Henschel sued for discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the District Court ruled in favor of CCRC.


The Sixth Circuit reversed in part, finding that issues of material fact remain regarding whether Henschel is qualified for the position. The Court remanded for further proceedings.

Read the full decision here