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Aereo Wants Trip to U.S. Supreme Court Too

TechCrunch reports that Aereo, which could be a disruptor to the broadcast TV industry if its Internet streaming service of broadcast programming is found not to violate copyright law, wants to go to the U.S. Supreme Court too. Broadcasters are already seeking an appeal to the justices.

In a statement reported by Tech Crunch, the company says, "'The long-standing landmark Second Circuit decision in Cablevision has served as a crucial underpinning to the cloud computing and cloud storage industry. The broadcasters’ filing makes clear that they are using Aereo as a proxy to attack Cablevision itself. ... Consumers have the right to use an antenna to access the over-the-air television. It is a right that should be protected and preserved and in fact, has been protected for generations by Congress. "' Aereo was built specifically with Cablevision in mind, TechCrunch further reports.

Pollution Case Could Be Headed to Tie in U.S. Supreme Court

The Hill reports on the oral arguments held in the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday on the authority for the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate pollution that crosses state lines. The case could be tied because Justice Samuel Alito Jr. recused himself, leaving four justices each from "the bench's liberal and conservative wings," The Hill also reports. 

At issue is a rule by the EPA requiring 28 states to cut back on their coal-fired power plants that "'contribute significantly'" to the air problems in other states, The Hill also reports.

U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Appeal of $142 Mil. Award Over Pfizer's Illegal Marketing

The U.S. Supreme Court has decided against granting Pfizer's appeal of a $142 million award in favor of Kaiser Foundation's health plan and hospitals regarding the off-label marketing of the Neurontin epilepsy drug, Bloomberg Businessweek reports. The Supreme Court's action also means that a national class action can proceed in which insurance companies, union funds and employers are suing for paying for coverage of "ineffective dosages of Neurontin" on the basis of aggregate data showing a correlation between Pfizer's off-label marketing and the number of off-label prescriptions, Bloomberg Businessweek further reports.

Supreme Court Looks Prepped to Throw Out Pilot's $1.4 Mil. Defamation Suit

The U.S. Supreme Court looks like it is prepared to throw out a pilot's $1.4 million award for defamation, Reuters reports. According to Reuters, the 2001 Aviation and Transportation Security Act immunizes airlines from defamation suits based on security-threat reports, so long as those "reports were not intentionally false or misleading." The Colorado Supreme Court said it did not need to decide whether the reports about the airline pilot (that he was mentally unstable and could be carrying a gun) were false before deciding whether the airline had immunity. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, "seemed to take issue with that conclusion" during oral argument today, Reuters concludes.

Feds Ask U.S. Supreme Court to Take Argentinian Bond Case

The Justice Department has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take up a case involving Argentina and its defaulted debt, Global Post reports. Lawyers for the federal government argue Second Circuit precedent giving "hedge fund bondholders the power to pursue the country's non-US assets was wrong," Global Post further reports.

The Justice Department's brief increases the chance the justices will grant certiorari, Global Post also reports.

State Feud Over Pollution Heads to U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court is going to hear oral arguments tomorrow about the cross-state feud over pollution, USA Today reports. At issue is the Environmental Protection Agency's rule that "as many as 28 upwind states, mostly in the Midwest and South, ... slash ozone and fine particle emissions for the benefit of their Middle Atlantic and Northeast neighbors," the newspaper reports.

According to USA Today, 24 states want the circuit court ruling striking down the rule upheld by the justices. But nine states and six cities are asking for the rule to be reinstated.

Is Software Patentable? U.S. Supreme Court Takes Case On That Question

The U.S. Supreme Court has taken a case involving the issue of when software is patentable, The Wall Street Journal reports. The tech world is divided on where to draw the line on when software can be patented and when it can't: "On one side lie technology giants such as Google Inc., Facebook Inc., and Intuit Inc., which largely believe the Patent & Trademark Office has issued too many software patents in recent years, and would like to see courts apply a more exacting standard when reviewing them. On the other, lies a collection of big and small technology companies, including International Business Machines Corp., which worry that tighter standards on software patents could hurt innovation," The Journal further reports.

Same-Sex Marriage Plaintiffs Fight Appeal to Third Circuit

Even though a trial date has been set in the first case in which plaintiffs are challenging Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex marriage, Governor Tom Corbett's administration is appealing to the Third Circuit on the applicability of U.S. Supreme Court precedent, Baker v. Nelson, on the Pennsylvania case, The Legal Intelligencer's Saranac Hale Spencer reports. In 1971, the Supreme Court upheld a five-page Minnesota Supreme Court opinion that the federal Constitution does not protect a fundamental right for same-sex couples to get married for "'want of a substantial federal question,'" according to SCOTUSblog's Lyle Denniston. The Supreme Court has not yet declared if there is a fundamental right for same-sex couples to get married.

U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III of the Middle District of Pennsylvania, however, rejected the idea that Baker still has precedential value: "'The Supreme Court has decided several cases since Baker which demonstrate that it no longer views constitutional challenges based on sex or sexual identity classifications as unsubstantial,'" The Legal reports.

Aereo Alone So Far In Amicus Briefing in U.S. Supreme Court

Broadcasting & Cable reports that "studios and defenders of copyrights" are filing amicus briefs in support of broadcasters, who are challenging Aereo's Internet streaming service of broadcast TV programming as a violation of their copyrights. However, Aereo does not yet have any amicus supporters in the U.S. Supreme Court, although Aereo's counsel pointed out to Broadcasting & Cable "that the court’s 30-day extension on Aereo’s response to broadcasters’ request that the High Court hear the case meant supporting briefs were also delayed 30 days—until Dec. 12."

For example, Time Warner argued to the U.S. Supreme Court that “'no reasonable company would have deployed Aereo’s armada of mini-antennae but for the desire to end-run the public performance right,'" according to Broadcasting & Cable.

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Casino Case That Could Shape American Indian Tribal Rights

The Guardian reports on U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments today in a case in which the state of Michigan argues that the Bay Mills Indian Community inappropriately opened an off-reservation casino without authorization of the federal government and in violation of a state agreement. Some of the justices took a skeptical view of the position that tribal sovereignity gives extra protection against closing the casino or other action by Michigan. Justice Stephen Breyer, for one, said, "My belief is Indian tribes all over the country, operate businesses off the reservation, and businesses all over the country are regulated. And does the State, I guess, in your view not have the power to enforce the regulation against the Indian tribe?" The Guardian reported.


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