Breaking News

Tuesday round-up

Today the court hears oral argument in Life Technologies v. Promega, a patent case that asks when export of a “substantial portion” of the components of a patented invention for assembly outside the U.S. creates patent infringement liability. John Duffy previewed the case for this blog. Andrew R. Maury and Scott Benjamin Cohen of Cornell University Law School’s Legal Information Institute also provide a preview of the case.

Yesterday, the court heard arguments in two redistricting cases from Virginia and North Carolina, Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Board of Elections and McCrory v. Harris. Amy Howe analyzed the arguments for this blog. Coverage also comes from Mark Sherman at the Associated Press, who reports that the “arguments demonstrated the difficulty in distinguishing racial and partisan motivations, when African-Americans overwhelmingly vote for Democrats” and that “Justices on both sides of the divide voiced a certain fatigue with the issue.” Nina Totenberg reports on the arguments for NPR, observing that “the Supreme Court seemed unsure on Monday how to balance” the competing “mandates” in the cases. Additional coverage comes from Garrett Epps in The Atlantic, who observes that over the years since Baker v. Carr, when the Supreme Court held that redistricting cases present justiciable questions, the court “has evolved a role as supreme arbiter of the law of politics,” a “feature of our system” that “isn’t about to change,” and that the two cases the court heard yesterday “exemplify the confusions and dangers of the political thicket.”

At Education Week, Mark Walsh reports on three cases the court took last Friday — Advocate Health Care Network v. Stapleton, Saint Peters Healthcare System v. Kaplan and Dignity Health v. Rollins — that have been consolidated for one hour of oral argument and that present the question “whether religious hospitals and schools must adhere to the federal law that regulates most private pension plans,” noting that although the granted cases all involve church-affiliated hospital organizations, the court’s “decision could also affect religious schools, day-care centers, and other religious affiliates.” Ross Runkel also discusses the cases at his eponymous blog, where he remarks that they “could possibly up-end thirty years of administrative interpretations that have granted a church plan exemption even though a plan was not initially established by a church – so long as it is maintained by an otherwise qualifying organization that is associated with or controlled by a church.”


  • At Reuters, Lawrence Hurley reports on Impression Products v. Lexmark International, a patent case the court agreed last Friday to review, in which the court will decide “whether foreign sales restrict a patent owner’s ability to sue for infringement if a buyer sells those products back in the United States, sometimes at a lower price”; he notes that the “dispute is closely watched by the tech and pharmaceutical industries because of its potential impact on how they engage in international trade.”
  • At Letters Blogatory, Theodore Folkman has compiled a collection of resource materials related to Water Splash v. Menon, a case the court added to its docket last Friday that asks whether the Hague Service Convention allows service of process by mail.
  • At Supreme Court Brief (subscription required), Tony Mauro talks to Marc Elias, an election law specialist who argued both redistricting cases yesterday against former solicitor general Paul Clement, remarking that it “is rare for the same pair of lawyers to argue two cases in a row at the high court.”
  • At the Sentencing Law and Policy blog, Douglas Berman notes that the court again took no action on the cert petition in Broom v. Ohio, a death penalty case involving a challenge to Ohio’s effort to execute an inmate for a second time after a failed first attempt, speculating that “the Justices are inclined to hold on to this case until a replacement for Justice Scalia is named.”

Remember, we rely exclusively on our readers to send us links for our round-up.  If you have or know of a recent (published in the last two or three days) article, post, or op-ed relating to the Court that you’d like us to consider for inclusion in the round-up, please send it to roundup [at]

Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Tuesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Dec. 6, 2016, 6:41 AM),