Opinion on Gene Patent

Camera crews set up by the Supreme Court plaza on a steamy morning with thunderstorms, and even a possible derecho, forecast. Also in the forecast was the possibility of a major decision in one of the remaining twenty-three cases argued earlier in the term.

The Court did not dissapoint the court-watchers, delivering a far reaching opinion on the patenting of natural genes. In his opinion for the Court in Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics Justice Thomas said, “Myriad did not create anything.” However the Court also found that a synthetic version of the gene created by Myriad was patentable.

There now remain nineteen undecided cases.

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California Raisins and Ex Post Facto

No opinions today on any of the big Supreme Court cases everyone has been watching and waiting for, but we did get :SCOTUS opinion: Horne v. Dept. of Agriculture

 Horne v. Department of Agriculture, in which California raisin growers won the right to challenge the constitutionality of regulatory fees…….

….. and Peugh v. United States, where the Court agreed with Marvin Peugh that the longer sentence he received under U.S. Sentencing Guidelines that were revised upward after he committed his crime were an ex post facto violation.Justice Sotomayor: Peugh v. U.S

The Court also announce a third opinion, a class arbitration case, but I didn’t finish the sketch of Justice Kagan ….she sits so far away.

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Posted in Opinions, Supreme Court

DNA Sampling No Different Than Fingerprinting

SCOTUS opinion: Maryland v. King

In an opinion delivered by Justice Kennedy today the Supreme Court said that taking a DNA sample from a suspect is the same as fingerprinting someone upon arrest, and that the purpose is indentification of the suspectJustice Kennedy Maryland v. King  “When officers make an arrest supported by probable cause to hold for a serious offense and they bring the suspect to the station to be detained in custody taking and analyzing a cheek swab of the arrestee’s DNA is, like fingerprinting and photographing, a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment,” said Justice Kennedy.Justice Scalia: Maryland v. King

“That assertion taxes the credulity of the credulous,” said Justice Scalia in a dissent delivered from the bench. “In approving that suspicionless search, the Court has cast aside a bedrock rule of our Fourth Amendment …”

The case is Maryland v. King

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Posted in Opinions, Supreme Court

Coming Into The Backstretch …

… only 28 cases remain undecided.Justices Ginsburg's opinionDashing hopes of a long awaited decision on the affirmative action case, Fisher v. University of Texas, argued last October the Court today announced only two opinions of less interest. At least they weren’t unanimous.

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A Day Trip to Philly

Reading Market, PhiladelphiaI got a last minute call to go to Philadelphia to sketch the sentencing of abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell – a case I have not followed and therefore am thankfully unable to comment on – so I hit the road at 5:00 a.m. Arriving early I had a few minutes to do the sketch above before the courthouse openned.

After waiting several hours in the courtroom, sketching some of the evidence collected from Dr. Gosnell’s, the sentencing itself was very brief. Abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell is sentenced in Philadelphia courtroom

Sketch from Kermit Gosnell sentencing

Abortion clinic furniture in courtroom

You can read about it here.

 

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Posted in Courtroom

Kagan’s Roundup Ready and Breyer’s in a Sling

A couple sketches from the Supreme Court yesterday:Justice Kagan's opinion in Monsanto
Justice Kagan annouced the Court’s unanimous opinion supporting Monsanto’s patent rights on its herbicide resistant genetically altered Roundup Ready seed.

NYT’s Adam Liptak has the story here.

It was also Justice Breyer’s first appearance on the bench since breaking his shoulder in a bicycle mishap two weeks ago.Justice Breyer with arm in a sling

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Robel Philipos, Dzokhar Tsarnaev’s Friend

Sketch of Boston marathon bomber's friend, Robel Philipos, in court

Robel Philipos, arrested last week and charged with making false statements, appeared before a federal magistrate in Boston. Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler allowed Philipos to go free on supervised bond. The above sketch shows Philipos with his lawyers and the magistrate as well as New York sketch and pleine-aire artist extraordinaire Jane Rosenberg in the right foreground.

Here are the rest of my sketches from today.

Tsarnaev's friend, Robel Philipos. with defense lawyers

Friend of Boston marathon bomber, Robel Philipos, led out of courtroom.

Friends of Robel Philipos in courtroom.

Funny story told to me by Jane: Philipos’ parents walked out of the courthouse with a young man not Robel, probably one of his friends pictured above. The cameras waiting outside assumed it was Robel and gave chase. Meanwhile, when the real Robel came to the front entrance accompanied by his lawyers the coast was clear. By the time the press caught on he was in the back seat of a car driving away.

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Before the Justices Take the Bench

Sketch-of-SCOTUS-press

 A little sketch, doodle really, of the Supreme Court press waiting for the Justices to come to the bench and announce the day’s opinions.
 From left to right, Mark Walsh of Education Week, Marcia Coyle of the National Law Journal, the Washington Post’s Robert Barnes and Adam Liptak of the New York Times.
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Time for a Tricycle?

Sketch of SCOTUS bench with Justice Breyer absentJust kidding, I’m really very sorry to hear that Justice Breyer had fall from his bicycle over the weekend and broke his shoulder. Twice before he has had serious bicycle mishaps and has always climbed back in the saddle. I hope he continues to ride, and wish him a speedy recovery.

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Remind Me To Update My Will

 

6a00d8341cd0df53ef017eea82f71b970dAfter federal employee Warren Hillman divorced his wife Judy Maretta and married Jaqueline Hillman he never changed the beneficiary on his life insurance. When he died the approximately $125,000. benefit went to his ex-wife.

Maybe, as Justice Breyer asked, “he secretly wants to leave the insurance in the name of his first wife while pretending to the second wife it was just an oversight.”

Lyle Denniston covers the argument here.

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