Just 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.
After 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."
In considering whether human genes may be patented the Justices of the Supreme Court searched near and far for analogies to help them grasp the complexities of bio-science. Here are a few sketches from the oral arguments along with a few choice quotes.
Justice Sotomayor : "I can bake a chocolate chip cookie using natural ingredients - salt, flour, eggs, butter ... And if I combust those in some new way, I can get a patent on that. But I can't imagine getting a patent on the basic items ..."
Justice Alito : "To get back to your baseball bat example, which at least I can understand better than perhaps some of this biochemistry. I suppose that in ... I don't know how many millions of years trees have been around, but in all of that time possibly someplace a branch has fallen off a tree .... into the ocean and it's been manipulated by the waves, and then something's been washed up on shore, and what do you know, it's a baseball bat."
Justice Breyer : "... so when Captain Ferno goes to the Amazon and discovers fifty new types of plants, saps and medicines .... although that expedition was expensive, although nobody had found it before, he can't get a patent on the thing itself."
And here's a quick sketch of people lining up outside the Supreme Court in the rain Monday morning to get a seat for the arguments.
SCOTUSblog's Lyle Denniston has the argument recap here.
Supap Kirtsaeng, a native of Thailand attending college in the U.S., found a clever way to help pay his way. He had his family in Thailand buy and ship to him textbooks which he then resold at a profit netting him around $100,000.
Normally if you purchase a book, or music CD or even a computer you have the right to resell it. But the publisher in this case took the student to court arguing that because the books were printed and sold abroad the "first-sale doctrine" did not apply.
Today, in an opinion by Justice Breyer, the Supreme Court came down 6-3 on the side of the student.
With the rest of the federal government shut down today as hurricane Sandy bore down on Washington, the Supreme Court kept to its schedule and heard arguments in two cases. In the first case, pictured above, the ACLU's Jameel Jaffer argued that American citizens are harmed when their communications are intercepted under the new FISA Amendment Act.
The second case argued today concerns the resale of books. Normally one can sell or otherwise dispose of an actual printed copy without permission from the copyright holder, but in this case a foreign student at a U.S. university paid for his education by having his familly purchase textbooks in Asia at a lower price which he then resold for profit.
Justice Breyer, known for his elaborate hypotheticals, must have had hurricane Sandy on his mind, for during the first argument he asked Solicitor General Verrilli, "All right, fine. That's why i say certainly....it might not be a storm tomorrow. I mean nothing is certain." and during arguments in the second case, "Now, for example, I believe there is going to be a storm, but it hasn't started yet".
The Court has cancelled tomorrow's session. Tuesday's arguments will be heard on Thursday.