SCOTUS Watercolors

Here are some sketches I did – still working on my watercolor chops – of arguments in two cases before the Supreme Court today. SC111207_Shapiro

The first, Mayo Medical Laboratories v. Prometheus Laboratories, is a very complex case about whether you can patent a natural process, in this case monitoring the metabolites a drug. SC111207_Bress

I can’t begin to explain it, but Lyle Denniston can. Click here for his analysis.

In the second case, PPL Montana, LLC v. Montana, the Justices were asked to reference the journals of Lewis and Clark to determine if a river in Montana was once navigable. SC111207_Clement

It seems that title to the riverbeds beneath commercially navigable waterways belong to the states, and those of non-navigable rivers belong to the nation. I did not know that. SC111207_Garre

The dispute  is between a Montana power company that operates several dams on the river and the State of Montana which says it is owed over $50 million in rent and interest.

You can read about it here.








Art Lien

Courtartist is me, Art Lien. I've been sketching the courts since 1976, and for most of that time the U.S. Supreme Court has been my regular beat. I've been working almost exclusively for NBC News since 1980. Courtroom sketching is a form of visual journalism or reportage drawing that is slowly dying out. Where once upon a time news organization each had their own artist covering a story, today a "pool" artist often sketches for all. It is a demanding and stressful discipline where the drawing is often done directly and under tight deadline.

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