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U.S. Supreme Court

Fox Asks 10th Circuit to Enjoin Aereo in the American West

While the U.S. Supreme Court case over Internet streaming service Aereo's business model is pending, broadcaster Fox is seeking a preliminary junction against Aereo in the 10th Circuit, Multichannel News reports. A Utah district court will hear the request to enjoin Aereo in the six states over which the 10th Circuit has jurisdiction.

Scalia Warns of Repeating History in Times of War

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was in Hawaii this week, the Associated Press reports. When asked about Korematsu v. United States,  in which the Supreme Court upheld the convictions of two Japanese Americans for not reporting to an internment camp, Scalia said that it was wrongly decided. "But you are kidding yourself if you think the same thing will not happen again," Scalia said, according to the AP. Scalia cited a Latin expression meaning, "In times of war, the laws fall silent," the AP further reported.

Monsanto's Biotech Patents Upheld with Denial of Certiorari

A group of 73 "organic and conventional family farmers, seed companies and public advocacy interests" lost their effort to have the U.S. Supreme Court reconsider lower-court rulings that they could not be sued for violating Monsant's biotech seed patents if their fields became "inadvertently contaminated with its patented genetic traits for corn, soybeans, cotton, canola and other crops," Midwest Producer reports. Monsanto argued that a "'a blanket covenant not to sue any present or future member of petitioners' organizations would enable virtually anyone to commit intentional infringement,'" Midwest Producer further reports.

Why Sonia Sotomayor Only Uses the Term 'Undocumented Immigrants'

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor said this week that the reason she uses the term "undocumented immigrants" instead of "illegal alien" is that "labeling immigrants criminals seem[s] insulting to her," the Associated Press report. Sotomayor further said: "'I think people then paint those individuals as something less than worthy human beings and it changes the conversation,'" the AP also reports.

Kagan Fetes Bader Ginsburg

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was celebrated by fellow Justice Elena Kagan and the New York City Bar Association this week, the Associated Press reports. Ginsburg "'has done as much as anyone in the last 40 years" to make the country more just and equal, Kagan remarked, the AP reports. Prior joining the bench, Ginsburg was a leading litigator in gender discrimination law.

Virginia Same-Sex Marriage Case May Beat Utah to the Supreme Court

The Washington Post reports that a lawsuit in Virginia challenging that state's ban on same-sex marriage might get to the U.S. Supreme Court before a case over Utah's same-sex marriage ban does. Oral arguments were just heard in the Virginia case, while a district court judge struck down Utah's ban already. That ruling is on appeal.

Even though the Utah case has advanced farther, "the Virginia cases are moving quickly, and some lawyers are hopeful they emerge through the appeals process as favored vehicles for an ultimate decision by the Supreme Court," The Post further reports.

Separately, a class action to challenge Virginia's ban on same-sex matrimony just got approval to proceed.

Accused Shooter's Lawyers Will Seek to Take Reporters' Privilege Case to Supreme Court

Defense lawyers for the accused Aurora, Colorado, movie shooter are going to seek access to a reporter's confidential sources all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, Reuters reports. The New York Court of Appeals ruled that state's shield law protects Jana Winter from having to reveal her sources in the Colorado criminal case.

(Hat tip to How Appealing, where I first saw this news.)

Supreme Court 'accelerated a movement it sought to temporarily restrain'

The New Yorker had a blog earlier this week that, while the Supreme Court decision striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act was meant to give breathing room to states to figure out the issue of same-sex nuptials themselves, "the language of the Windsor decision may have been so powerful that the Court in fact accelerated a movement it sought to temporarily restrain."  The blog also has this quote from Roberta Kaplan, the attorney who argued the Windsor case in the Supreme Court, explaining "how the ruling had led to results beyond what the court may have intended originally. 'It’s not the holding in Windsor that is so controlling right now. It’s the logic and reasoning behind the court’s decision—namely, that gay people deserve the same legal rights and protections as everyone else.”' 

U.S. Supreme Court Accepts Broadcasters' Framing of the Issues in Aereo Case

The Boston Business Journal reports that the U.S. Supreme Court has taken up the broadcasters' iteration of the legal issues in a lawsuit over whether Internet upstart Aereo's transmission of free broadcast TV through its Internet streaming services is copyright infringement. The issue, as drafted by the broadcasters, is being framed as "whether a company 'publicly performs' a copyrighted television program when it retransmits a broadcast of that program to thousands of paid subscribers over the Internet."

Aereo framed the issue as "whether Aereo 'perform[s] publicly,' under Sections 101 and 106 of the Copyright Act, by supplying remote equipment that allows a consumer to tune an individual, remotely located antenna to a publicly accessible, over-the-air broadcast television signal, use a remote digital video recorder to make a personal recording from that signal, and then watch that recording."

Supreme Court Overturns $1.2 Mil. Defamation Judgment Against Airline

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected a $1.2 million defamation judgment an airline pilot received after the airline reported that he could pose a security risk, Forbes reports. Justice Sonia Sotomayor cited the New York Times v. Sullivan in ruling that Air Wisconsin was entitled to immunity for statements its employees made to the Transportation Safety Administration as long they weren't materially false, Forbes further reports. The employees reported that the pilot, who failed multiple tests, was "mentally unstable." Forbes also reports "the decision reiterates the key test for whether a statement is defamatory. For a statement to be materially false, the court said, it must produce a different effect on the mind of the person who receives it than would the truth."


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