Just a short post to bring you all up to date on where the Supreme Court is, or isn’t, with its cases.
There are still 27 argued cases to be handed down, and still the only major cases that have been decided are Timbs (covered in my last post) and Apple, decided May 13, which held that purchasers of apps for their iPhones through Apple’s App Store were direct purchasers from Apple (as opposed to the app manufacturers) and may sue Apple for allegedly monopolizing the retail market for the sale of iPhone apps (a 5-4 decision which found Justice Kavanaugh and the four liberal justices in the majority).
The next day to hand down opinions is June 10. It is safe to say it will be a wild June at the Supreme Court.
Want to know how the 42 cases that have been decided have gone vote-wise? Well, thanks to our friends at SCOTUSblog, we have the answer:
For statistically minded readers, SCOTUSblog/statistics break the cases down in every conceivable way. But for this post, notice that 20 of the 42 (47.6%) were unanimous and that 27 (64.3%) were 7-2/6-2 (a justice not participating), 8-1, or 9-0. Why such unanimity, or close to it?
Well, recall that only two “major” cases have been decided, and some commentators, or people that work in certain fields of law, would say that there are more “major” cases than even SCOTUSblog marks in red on their chart. The short answer? The easy ones are done or almost done. The remaining 27, such as the gerrymandering cases, the census case, and the Maryland cross case, are complex, divisive, and will generate long, multiple opinions, opinions which are even now being circulated in draft form to see if they can garner votes.
I will do my best to keep my readers posted.
Bonus: An interesting grant.
Think copyright law is boring? Well, the law itself might be (confession: I think it is fascinating, but that’s just me) but the facts behind the cases are anything but.
Take this case. It involves videos and photos of the salvage of Blackbeard’s flagship, Queen Anne’s Revenge. I’ll let Amy Howe tell the tale:
In Allen v. Cooper, the justices will consider whether Congress had the power to repeal the states’ immunity from lawsuits for copyright infringement when it enacted the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act.
The case arises from the discovery of Blackbeard’s flagship, Queen Anne’s Revenge, off the North Carolina coast. Frederick Allen and his company, Nautilus Productions, filmed the shipwreck and registered copyrights for the videos and photos that they created; in 2015, they filed a lawsuit claiming that North Carolina had violated their copyrights. The state countered that it could not be sued in federal court, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit agreed. The 4th Circuit ruled that the CRCA had not validly repealed the immunity granted to the states by the 11th Amendment.
Allen asked the justices to weigh in, telling them that, unless the Supreme Court intervenes, the “creators of original expression will be left without remedy when States trample their federal copyrights.” Today the justices granted that request..
Photographers, especially those who make a living at it: pay attention to this one.