Cambridge, MA 02138
- Marisa Maleck, Gibson Dunn
- Bob McNamara, Institute for Justice
In two separate cases to be argued this week, the U.S. Supreme Court will continue to provide close oversight, often with critical disagreement, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in the area of patent law. The Supreme Court will decide whether a patentee’s use of a royalty agreement that projects beyond the expiration date of the patent is unlawful per se. In a second case, the Court will determine whether a defendant's belief that a patent is invalid is a defense to induced infringement. Our expert will be on hand to hear the oral arguments and then report to our Teleforum audience.
The United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Ohio v. Clark on March 2, 2015. Two questions are presented to the Court: (1) Whether an individual's obligation to report suspected child abuse makes that individual an agent of law enforcement for purposes of the Confrontation Clause; and (2) whether a child's out-of-court statements to a teacher in response to the teacher's concerns about potential child abuse qualify as “testimonial” statements subject to the Confrontation Clause. On March 17, 2010, a Cleveland preschool teacher noticed injuries to a three-year-old student. When asked, the child indicated that her mother’s boyfriend, Darius Clark, had caused the injuries. Clark was arrested and convicted of child abuse after the teacher relayed her concerns to a child-abuse hotline, as required by state law. On appeal Clark claimed that the admission of the child’s out-of-court statements to the teacher violated his Sixth Amendment right to confront the witnesses against him. The Supreme Court of Ohio agreed, holding that because state law required the teacher to report suspected incidences of child abuse, the teacher was acting as an agent for law enforcement when inquiring about the child’s injuries. Therefore, the child’s out-of-court statements could only be admitted if the primary purpose of the teacher’s questioning was to address an ongoing emergency. Because the child was not in immediate danger of further injury, the out-of-court statement could not be admitted.
In a 4-1-4 decision issued on February 25, 2015, 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 returned to wade through the complicated decision.
On Wednesday, March 4, 2015 the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in King v. Burwell, one of the most talked-about cases of the October 2014 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, attended the oral arguments and offered his thoughts to a live Teleforum audience.