Monsanto sells its brand of genetically engineered soybean seed to farmers with the stipulation that they will not replant the crop seed. Indiana farmer Vernon Bowman abided by Monsanto's rules when he planted his first crop, but for a second late-season crop he decided to plant seed purchased from a grain elevator figuring much of it would seed grown from Monsanto's Rounup resistant strain. He was right, but Monsanto sued.
Bowman's lawyer, Mark Walters, had a hard time convincing Justices that once Monsanto sold its seed the patent was exhausted. "The Exhaustion Doctrine permits you to use the goods that you buy," Justice Sonia Sotomayor said. "It never permits you to make another item from the item that you bought."
Monsanto's lawyer Seth P. Waxman said the company "never would have produced what is, by now the most popular agricultural technology in America" if the patent had been so easily exhausted.
Things just kept getting better for Arizona governor Jan Brewer, in the right foreground above, and the state's mean-spirited anti-immigration law, SB 1070, especially when the Chief Justice cut off Solicitor General Verrilli before he could even begin his argument saying, “No part of your argument has to do with racial or ethnic profiling, does it?" Which, of course, is the elephant in the room.
When Verrilli later in his argument sought to illustrate the harrasment of legal Latinos by citing population percentages Scalia interjected, "Sounds like racial profiling to me".
The lawyer for Arizona, Paul Clement, on the other hand faced moderate questions from the Justices as he sought to soften the edges of a harsh law.