So Much Supreme Court News …


 2016 Term Kick Off

With the Senate holding marathon hearings for potential Justice Neil Gorsuch and the high court handing down six opinions, you may have missed that the Supreme Court also heard oral argument in a number of cases this week.

But don’t worry … Bloomberg BNA's got your back. Here’s what went down.

First was the long-awaited takings case, No. 15-214, Murr v. Wisconsin.

This one seeks to put to rest the question of how to define two adjoining properties in a regulatory takings case—that is, in a case where government regulations limit the use of private property. 

Bloomberg BNA’s John Henry Stam said the justices seemed divided on this one. You can read John’s take on why that’s so here

Next up was the military benefits case, No. 15-1031, Howell v. Howell. “The case boils down to whether veterans can unilaterally change the terms of a divorce decree by shifting from one kind of benefit to another,” according to Bloomberg BNA’s Bernard Pazanowski

Read about the justices’ “bait-and-switch” concerns in this case here

The court kicked off Tuesday’s arguments with No. 15-457, Microsoft Corp v. Baker, another case that had been put off by the justices. 

This one involves a class action brought by Xbox gamers, according to Bloomberg BNA’s class action reporter Perry Cooper

The plaintiffs were pressed by the justices about “how they were able to get an immediate appeal of an adverse class status ruling by voluntarily dismissing their case,” Perry said.

And they got their toughest questions “from the justices the gamers need most on their team: those who often side with plaintiffs,” she said. 

Read more about those tough Qs here

The justices also heard an intellectual property case, No. 15-1189, Impression Products v. Lexmark International

The court “explored whether consumers would be more vulnerable to lawsuits if patent owners are allowed to limit how their products are used after they're sold,” according to Bloomberg BNA’s patent reporter Peter C. Leung

“The outcome may have a big impact on companies that depend on global supply chains to manufacture products potentially covered by hundreds of patents,” Peter said. Read why here

On Wednesday, the justices considered whether “Los Angeles County police officers could be personally liable for $4 million awarded to a homeless couple they shot in a shack they called home,” Bloomberg BNA’s criminal law reporter Jessie DaSilva said. 

This one, No. 16-369, County of Los Angeles v. Mendez, involves the Ninth Circuit’s unusual “provocation rule,” which “typically opens up police to personal financial responsibility when they engage in unconstitutional conduct eliciting a violent reaction from the victim,” Jessie said. 

This one could come down to the point in time that the justices look to in order to determine if police acted reasonably. Read why that’s the case here

Finally, the justices considered “a decades-long circuit split about a treaty’s interpretation,” Bloomberg BNA’s Melissa Stanzione said. In No. 16-254, Water Splash v. Menon the court will decide “whether service of process by mail is authorized by the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters,” Melissa said. 

This one is sure to make a “splash,” so read more about it here

With that, you’re all caught up on the latest Supreme Court argument news.

Be sure to follow along with next week’s arguments with a free trial to United States Law Week.