FINAL UPDATE: 3:31 p.m. Expanded from an earlier version.
The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to rule on whether the president has the sole power to decide on the nature of the U.S. government’s formal relations with Israel. That issue arises out of a dispute between the White House and Congress over whether Israel should be noted as the place of birth of a U.S. citizen born in Jerusalem. At issue is the constitutionality of a 2002 law mandating Israel as the place-of-birth designation in that situation, if requested. (The case is Zivotofsky v. Kerry.)
The Court granted two other cases, the first dealing with the constitutional implications of a police traffic stop that turned out to be based upon a mistake by the officers (Heien v. North Carolina), and the second focusing on whether possession of a shotgun with a short barrel should be treated as a violent felony for purposes of federal criminal sentencing (Johnson v. United States).
For the nineteenth time this Term, the Court took no action Monday on the case of Ryan v. Hurles, testing when a federal court may overturn a state criminal conviction for failure to hold a hearing to weigh evidence on a key legal issue. The Court has considered that case at every one of its private Conferences since late September. Continue reading »
- Fortune’s Roger Parloff previews tomorrow’s oral argument in American Broadcasting Companies v. Aereo, in which the Court will consider whether Aereo’s streaming of broadcast television programs over the Internet violates federal copyright laws. (Lyle Denniston previewed the case for this blog over the weekend.)
- In the wake of recent comments by Justice Antonin Scalia disagreeing with the Court’s 1964 decision in New York Times v. Sullivan, holding that a public official cannot recover damages for libel unless he proves that the alleged defamation was made with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard as to its truth or falsity, Kenneth Jost weighs in at Jost on Justice, arguing that the decision “rightly deserves its place in the pantheon of First Amendment landmarks.” Continue reading »
At 9:30 a.m. we expect orders from the April 18 Conference. We will report on the orders as soon as they become available. At 10:00 a.m. the Justices will hear oral arguments in Republic of Argentina v. NML Capital, which Lyle Denniston previewed for us. At 11:00 a.m. the Justices will hear oral argument in POM Wonderful LLC v. The Coca Cola Company, which Ronald Mann previewed for us.
On Monday the Court granted three new cases. Lyle’s post on the orders is here. On Tuesday the Court issued two opinions, including Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action. An archived version of that live blog is here. On Wednesday the Court issued two more opinions.An archived version of that live blog is here. This is the first week of the April sitting. Our list of “Petitions to watch” for the April 25 Conference is here.
At 11 a.m. next Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hold one hour of oral argument on copyright issues surrounding a new technology for Internet streaming of free TV programs to customers for a monthly fee. Arguing for the over-the-air broadcasters in American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. v. Aereo, Inc., will be Paul D. Clement of the Washington, D.C., office of Bancroft PLLC, with twenty minutes of time. The views of the federal government as an amicus in support of the broadcasters will be presented by Deputy U.S. Solicitor General Malcolm L. Stewart, with ten minutes. The streaming TV entrepreneur Aereo will be represented by David C. Frederick of the Washington, D.C., office of Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel, PLLC, with thirty minutes of time.
Some years ago, the Supreme Court held the view that if an enterprising firm came along that made it easier for television viewers or radio listeners to get the programs they wanted, if they paid a fee, free over-the-air programs were fair game: royalties to the broadcasters didn’t have to be paid even though their programs were copyrighted. This was just a matter of customer choice, the Court said.
Congress did not seem to agree, but maybe it was not so clear in saying so — especially if the technology changed, as was inevitable. That is the issue the Court has now agreed to explore, in a case that the broadcast TV industry is treating as a make-or-break fight for its financial survival — and, indeed, for the survival of free TV itself. And it is a new test of whether federal copyright law has kept up with rapidly changing technology, including new ways to use the Internet to watch TV.
The petition of the day is:
Issue: Whether a medical professional can be convicted of “knowingly and willfully” making a false statement in medical records or reports under 18 U.S.C. § 1035 when the district court failed to instruct the jury that a guilty verdict requires proof of an intent to deceive.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., refused on Friday afternoon to delay generic drug manufacturers from offering, as early as next month, competing and lower-priced versions of a widely used drug for treating multiple sclerosis. In a one-page ruling, Roberts said he was not convinced that Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., would suffer serious harm from the competition because it can later sue the generic companies for damages if its key patent on the drug Copaxone is ultimately upheld.
The generic companies will be in position to enter the market with their versions as of May 24, if they receive final approval from the government by then to do so. In any event, they have indicated that they plan to start selling their products within a matter of weeks. One major consideration for company executives, as they make their plans, will be the prospect of potentially having to pay Teva damages that could run into the hundreds of millions of dollars, if they ultimately lose the current fight over the validity of Teva patents on Copaxone.
Technically, under the Court’s rules, Teva could take its plea for protection from its rivals to another Justice, but getting a favorable result from that maneuver is not a strong prospect.