The D.C. Circuit Court, before moving ahead with a significant test case on the war crimes powers of Guantanamo Bay military commissions, has asked for a firm indication of whether the detainee involved actually wants the case to go on. In an order Tuesday, the en banc Circuit Court told a lawyer for Yemeni national Ali Hamza Ahmad Suliman al Bahlul to obtain a letter to clarify his intentions. (The blog discussed the new uncertainty about the case in this post.)
Coverage of Monday’s orders and decisions continued to trickle in yesterday.
At this blog, Ronald Mann reports on Monday’s decision in Bowman v. Monsanto Co., in which the Court held that the doctrine of patent exhaustion does not allow a farmer to reproduce patented seeds through planting and harvesting without the patent holder’s permission. Jaclyn Belczyk of JURIST also covers the opinion, while Erin Geiger Smith of Thomson Reuters reports that, “[f]or many intellectual property lawyers focused on technology, the most important part of [the decision] was that the court limited its holding to the facts before it and did not go wider.”
The petition of the day is:
Issue: Whether a state’s parens patriae action is removable as a “mass action” under the Class Action Fairness Act when the state is the sole plaintiff, the claims arise under state law, and the state attorney general possesses statutory and common-law authority to assert all claims in the complaint.
John Elwood reviews Monday’s relisted cases.
Welcome back from the two-week break! After days spent merrily consuming a year’s worth of sodium in the form of rim salt and treatin’ Ma to somethin’ special, the Court dumped the proverbial ice-cold bucket of reality over some of our favorite relists. Seemingly unmoved by the emotional trauma we as a nation have suffered because of ABC’s cancellation of Parents Television Council-favorite Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 and the timely How to Live with Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life), the Court slashed forty percent from last week’s relist rolls. Gone are the two two-time relists and follow-ons to Genesis HealthCare Corp. v. Symczyk, Convergent Outsourcing, Inc. v. Zinni, 12-744, and Cerdant, Inc. v. DHL Express (USA), Inc., 12-747.
Yesterday’s opinion in Bowman v. Monsanto Co. provided an anticlimactic conclusion to one of the highest-stakes cases of the Term. The general question at issue is whether Monsanto can control what users do with the Roundup-resistant (“Roundup Ready”) soybean seeds that Monsanto has patented. Specifically, the question is whether a farmer who buys Roundup Ready seed can use newly grown seeds for subsequent plantings. Monsanto says no, arguing that the patent requires the farmer to buy seeds from Monsanto every year. The Court firmly agreed, affirming the Federal Circuit, in a brief opinion by Justice Kagan for a unanimous Court.
Bullock v. BankChampaign, N.A. is a case in which the oral argument had little to do with the final opinion. The dispute involves an exception to the bankruptcy discharge for debts incurred through “defalcation.” Generally, an individual who files for bankruptcy is discharged from any continuing personal obligation to pay preexisting debts. This means that creditors can take their collateral, but ordinarily they can no longer pursue the bankrupt. The discharge is subject, however, to exceptions for a variety of debts that involve specified forms of misconduct. The question in this case is whether the claim here falls within an exception for “defalcation”; if it does, the claim would survive his bankruptcy.
Nearly fifty years ago, comedian Bill Cosby did a very funny skit called “Oops,” about how a patient, awake under local anesthesia, might react on hearing the surgeon use that word in the operating room. “Did you say ‘oops,’” Cosby asked? “What do you mean ‘oops’?”
But when Supreme Court Justices decide, after the fact, that they may have made a mistake, it is rarely a laughing matter.
The most recent example of a Justice expressing second thoughts was Sandra Day O’Connor, who retired in 2006. Last month she told the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune that perhaps the Supreme Court should not have ruled in the case of Bush v. Gore, the December 2000 decision that halted the Florida recount and gave the presidential election to George W. Bush.
The Court released three opinions in argued cases yesterday, all unanimous. In the first opinion of the day, Bowman v. Monsanto Co., by Justice Kagan, the Court held that the doctrine of patent exhaustion does not allow a farmer to reproduce patented seeds through planting and harvesting without the patent holder’s permission. Coverage comes from Nina Totenberg of NPR, Greg Stohr of Bloomberg News, Adam Liptak of The New York Times, David G. Savage of the Los Angeles Times, Debra Cassens Weiss of the ABA Journal, Richard Wolf of USA Today, Ariane de Vogue of ABC News, Tony Mauro of The National Law Journal (registration required), Lawrence Hurley of Reuters, Jesse J. Holland of the Associated Press, Chantal Valery of Agence France-Presse, and Ronald Bailey of Reason. At Dorf on Law, Mike Dorf comments on the case, warning his readers not to “confuse the right legal outcome with generally good news.” Continue reading »
At its May 16, 2013 Conference, the Court will consider petitions seeking review of issues such as the legality of Florida’s capital sentencing regime, the burden of proof for declaratory judgments in patent infringement cases, standing requirements under the Securities Exchange Act, and a grant of habeas relief for a capital defendant.
This edition of “Petitions to watch” features petitions raising issues that Tom has determined to have a reasonable chance of being granted, although we post them here without consideration of whether they present appropriate vehicles in which to decide those issues. Our policy is to include and disclose all cases in which Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys work for or contribute to this blog in various capacities, represents either a party or an amicus in the case, with the exception of the rare cases in which Goldstein & Russell represents the respondent(s) but does not appear on the briefs in the case.
UPDATED 6:05 pm. The Second Circuit Court said Monday it will submit the government’s request to a motions panel on May 28. In the meantime, the judge’s order on unlimited access for all ages will remain on hold. There is no timetable for the Circuit Court panel to act.
Saying it cannot say at this point whether it would ever allow younger girls to get access to an emergency contraceptive, the Obama administration on Monday asked the Second Circuit Court to block a federal judge’s order to make the drug available to all women of any age, without prescriptions. The government’s motion, in Circuit docket 13-1690, can be read here.
If the Circuit Court approves the request, the one-pill version of so-called “Plan B” will be available without prescription to women who are fifteen years old or older, but only if they can prove their age with a government-issued form of ID. For younger girls, they will need a doctor’s prescription, and will be able to get the drug only at a pharmacy.