Bench Memos

Today’s Supreme Court Decisions: Spider-Man, Criminals, and Raisins

This morning the Supreme Court released 4 opinions. The first was Kimble v. Marvel Enterprises, Inc., which was about whether a patent royalty agreement that projects beyond the expiration date of the patent is valid. It also involved a Spider-Man webshooter. Relying on stare decisis, a 6-3 majority of the Court (in an opinion written by Justice Kagan) affirmed the Ninth Circuit’s decision. The opinion is here.

The Court also affirmed the Ninth Circuit in Los Angeles v. Patel, about whether a municipal ordinance requiring hotel owners to keep guest registries and open them to inspection by law enforcement is unconstitutional. Justice Sotomayor wrote an opinion for a 5-4 majority holding the ordinance facially unconstitutional.

Reversing the Seventh Circuit, the Court held in Kingsley v. Hendrickson that a pretrial detainee only has to show that force used against him was objectively unreasonable, not (as the court of appeals held) that the officer subjectively actually intended to violate (or recklessly disregarded) the detainee’s rights. Justice Breyer wrote that opinion for a 5-4 Court with Justice Scalia writing a dissent for himself, the Chief, and Justice Thomas. Justice Alito dissented separately.

The last opinion was Horne v. Department of Agriculture, a 5-4 decision written by the Chief, for which Carrie Severino more analysis later today. Justice Thomas filed a concurring opinion, Justice Breyer concurred in part and dissented in part, joined by Justices Ginsburg and Kagan (who partially joined the Chief’s opinion). Justice Sotomayor was the only fully-dissenting justice.

The Court will issue more opinions on Thursday morning. Stay tuned!

Jonathan Keim — Jonathan Keim is Counsel for the Judicial Crisis Network. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and Princeton University, an experienced litigator, and ...

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