Justices Add Three New Cases To This Term’s Docket

from SCOTUSblog

This afternoon the justices announced that they had granted review in three new cases, involving issues ranging from patent and bankruptcy law to the federal law governing sex offenders. The justices did not act on several high-profile petitions for review, including a dispute over a cross on public land in the Washington, D.C., suburbs and a challenge to mandatory bar dues for lawyers. More orders from the justices’ private conference today are expected on Monday morning at 9:30 a.m., although the justices are unlikely to add any new cases to their docket with those orders.

More here.

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  1. The justices have a very diverse set of cases on which they have to rule. Given that the cases will be argued during the winter and a decision for each will be made, most likely in late June, they will have enough time. However, each case has its own set of problems. The United States v. Haymond case will be a very important one on which to rule. The Mission Product Holdings v. Tempnology LLC case on intellectual property and declaring bankruptcy is going to be tough because businesses need to prove that they can declare bankruptcy due to intellectual property loss. The Return Mail v. U.S. Postal Service case on patents does not appear to be tumultuous, although it might follow a similar path as the Mission Product Holdings case.
    It is difficult for courts to determine the constitutionality of laws. According to the New York Times, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was hospitalized recently after falling and breaking three ribs. With her out of commission, one can wonder if this will affect the time frame of these cases. At this point, it cannot be known. With all three cases projected to be ruled in late June of next year, the Supreme Court will have very much on their hands.

  2. The recent cases that the United States Supreme Court has decided to review are all very different and cover a wide range of issues. Now that SCOTUS has the ninth justice, Brett Kavanaugh on the bench, the rulings that will come out of it will be very interesting. This is due to the fact that now the U.S. Supreme Court is right leaning so that decisions that result might tend to go along with those views as well as interpreting the U.S. Constitution. The three cases that the Court will be observing include United States v. Haymond, Return Mail v. U.S. Postal Service, and Mission Product Holdings v. Tempnology LLC.
    In the case of United States v. Haymond, the U.S. Supreme Court will be looking at whether or not it is constitutional “of a federal law that requires additional prison time for sex offenders who violate the terms of their supervised release” (Howe). The defendant, Andrew Haymond, got thirty-eight months in prison along with ten years of supervised release in 2010. Then in 2015, it turned out that he violated his supervised release by “possessing pornography and child pornography, failing to tell the probation office about computers that he owned and repeatedly failing to attend sex-offender treatment sessions.” These reasons make it seem fair that additional years of prison should be added to his sentence because he was not following any his responsibilities. His offense is very serious and if he cannot comply, then he should face consequences for his actions because it is not fair for civilians to worry about an unstable man who could potentially harm children. I agree with how the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit handled this situation and think that when the Supreme Court of the United States looks into it, they will come out with the same ruling.
    The other two cases, Return Mail v. U.S. Postal Service and Mission Product Holdings v. Tempnology LLC seem to also present challenging decisions for the SCOTUS to decide. Every case that the Supreme Court gets to rule upon is especially critical because they are the highest court. Their decisions trickle down throughout the other courts and are highly respected by everyone even if they do not agree. In addition to that, SCOTUS decisions will last a very long time and they need to consider not only how their ruling will affect the present time, but also years to come if another situation similar appears. These cases will be one of the first ones looked at so some serious consideration needs to be established. An important thing to remember with cases is that rulings need to stay with the time and that also makes SCOTUS decisions significant because justices are granted life tenure. The Court will have to discuss all three cases during this winter and will have come to a ruling on each three by late June. This period of time is not that long it seems for three cases, but hopefully, each decision will be the best one.

  3. I will be specifically speaking about the case Return Mail V United States postal service. The article provides the briefest of descriptions of the case so I will provide the context and analysis where I can. In 2011 the Leahy Smith America invents act was passed, overhauling the patent system in the United States, most importantly the inclusion of an opposition system that non-patent holders could call on after a patent was formally granted to challenge the patent owner’s claim to the patent. A man named Hungerpiller developed a barcode-scanning system for mail organization and patented this system in 2004. While the USPS tried to purchase his system they independently developed a system using his as a model and put it into action at many of their facilities around the nation. While Hungerpiller and USPS had several legal disputes the notable one took place in 2011 when the USPS used the new Leahy-Smith in order to invalidate the entirety of Hungerpiller’s patent. Hungerpiller brought this to court, arguing that a government entity does not constitute a “person” who could challenge a patent’s validity. After being heard in federal appeals court, where it was determined that USPS did constitute personhood the case was finally appealed to the supreme court who tried it in February 2019. The supreme court reversed the lower court decision with a 6-3 rule. This rule was fundamentally based in the idea that the sovereign of a nation is not included in the general definition of “personhood” that was described in the bill in order to prevent the government from treating itself with the same benefits as the individual. While there isn’t a direct comparison, this case reminded me a lot of citizens united and the discussions about what defines a person in the eyes of campaign finance. In the citizen’s united case the court ruled that a company was similar to an individual in the eyes of the law when campaigning finances are considered. But with this decision on what constitutes a person when the government is concerned, well it becomes a discussion of how many benefits the government may grant itself in its classification, a potentially dangerous slope.


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