Cambridge, MA 02138
- Marisa Maleck, Gibson Dunn
- Bob McNamara, Institute for Justice
In a 4-1-4 decision issued on February 25, the United States Supreme Court held that a federal criminal law prohibiting the destruction of corporate records and other “tangible objects” could not be used against a commercial fisherman who threw undersized fish overboard to avoid prosecution. The decision featured an unusual lineup of justices, wave after wave of fishing metaphors, and a citation to Dr. Seuss. Todd Braunstein covered the November oral arguments on a Teleforum conference call, and he will return to wade through the complicated decision.
On Wednesday, March 4, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in King v. Burwell, one of the most talked-about cases of this term. At issue is whether the Internal Revenue Service may permissibly promulgate regulations to extend tax-credit subsidies to coverage purchased through exchanges established by the federal government under Section 1321 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Those challenging the statute argue that tax-credit subsidies can only be legally extended to those purchasing insurance in state-run exchanges – fewer than 20 states have created such exchanges. Professor Jonathan Adler, widely regarded as one of the architects of this most recent challenge to the affordable care act, will attend the oral arguments and offer his thoughts to a live Teleforum audience.
On Tuesday, March 3, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in City of Los Angeles v. Patel. Los Angeles has an ordinance that requires hotels to maintain certain records about their guests and to produce those records for police officers upon request. The officer does not necessarily need a warrant or any particular suspicion. Hoteliers claim that this regime violates the Fourth Amendment. Interestingly, the hoteliers do not allege that any particular search was illegal. Is this kind of “facial” Fourth Amendment challenge to a statute or ordinance (as opposed to an “as applied” challenge to a particular search carried out under the statute) permissible? This issue raises fundamental questions about the constitutional structure of judicial review, with importance reaching far beyond the Fourth Amendment context.
On January 20. 2015, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. v. Sandoz, Inc. The question in the case was the level of deference the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit must give to a trial court’s interpretation of patent claims.
In an opinion delivered by Justice Breyer, the Court altered the long-standing practice of the Federal Circuit to review patent claim constructions de novo, holding that a trial court’s resolution of “subsidiary factual matters” made while interpreting patent claims must be reviewed for clear error. The ultimate interpretation of the claim terms, however, remains subject to de novo review.