SCOTUS Hears Oral Arguments in Six Cases
The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in six cases last week. The most noteworthy case is Murr v. Wisconsin, which involves the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. The specific question before the Court in Murr is whether physically contiguous parcels that are owned by the same entity should be considered one parcel for purposes of a takings claim even if they are legally distinct.
During oral arguments, the justices did not appear to reach a consensus on how to apply the “parcel as a whole” concept set forth in Penn Central Transportation Company v. City of New York, 438 U.S. 104, 130-31 (1978). Accordingly, a wide range of interested parties, including property owners, local governments, and real estate developers, will be awaiting the Court’s final decision.
Below is a brief summary of the other cases before the Court this week:
Howell v. Howell: Divorce cases rarely reach the Supreme Court. This case revolves around the entitlement to military retirement pay. The specific question before the Court is “[w]hether the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act pre-empts a state court’s order directing a veteran to indemnify a former spouse for a reduction in the former spouse’s portion of the veteran’s military retirement pay, when that reduction results from the veteran’s post-divorce waiver of retirement pay in order to receive compensation for a service-connected disability.”
Microsoft Corp. v. Baker: The latest class-action lawsuit before the Court centers on a strategy used by plaintiffs to obtain appellate review of class certification denials. The justices have specifically agreed to determine “[w]hether a federal court of appeals has jurisdiction to review an order denying class certification after the named plaintiffs voluntarily dismiss their claims with prejudice.”
Impression Products, Inc. v. Lexmark International, Inc.: In one of the most closely watched intellectual property cases of the term, the Court will determine when the sale of a product “exhausts” the rights of the patent holder. The two specific questions before the Court are: (1) Whether a “conditional sale” that transfers title to the patented item while specifying post-sale restrictions on the article’s use or resale avoids application of the patent-exhaustion doctrine and therefore permits the enforcement of such post-sale restrictions through the patent law’s infringement remedy; and (2) whether, in light of this court’s holding in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. that the common-law doctrine barring restraints on alienation that is the basis of exhaustion doctrine “makes no geographical distinctions,” a sale of a patented article – authorized by the U.S. patentee – that takes place outside the United States exhausts the U.S. patent rights in that article.
County of Los Angeles v. Mendez: The controversial police shooting case involves when victims may recover civil damages through excessive use of force claims. The specific question is whether pre-shooting conduct should be considered in determining the reasonableness of the force used by police, also known as the “provocation rule.” The specific issues before the Court include: (1) Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit’s “provocation” rule should be barred as it conflicts with Graham v. Connor regarding the manner in which a claim of excessive force against a police officer should be determined in an action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for a violation of a plaintiff’s Fourth Amendment rights, and has been rejected by other courts of appeals; and (2) whether, in an action brought under Section 1983, an incident giving rise to a reasonable use of force is an intervening, superseding event which breaks the chain of causation from a prior, unlawful entry in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
Water Splash, Inc. v. Menon: The case involves a treaty known as the Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters (Hague Service Convention), which was adopted by the U.S. and other member states of the Hague Conference on Private International Law in 1965. The Hague Service Convention enables service of process from one member state to another without the use of consular or diplomatic channels. The question before the justices is “whether the Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters authorizes service of process by mail.
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- Establishment ClauseFree Exercise Clause
- Freedom of Speech
- Freedoms of Press
- Freedom of Assembly, and Petitition
- The Right to Bear Arms
- Unreasonable Searches and Seizures
- Due Process
- Eminent Domain
- Rights of Criminal Defendants
Preamble to the Bill of Rights
Congress of the United States begun and held at the City of New-York, on Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.
THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.