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.
A group of Navy lawyers picked the right day, yesterday, to be sworn in to the Supreme Court bar. The first case argued, Levi v. United States, involved a malpractice and medical battery suit against a Navy surgeon. But first, the Court had an opinion to announce that might have touched on Admiralty law, but didn't.
In Lozman v. Riviera Beach the Supreme Court ruled that a houseboat is not a vessel subject to maritime law. In his opinion Justice Stephen Breyer noted that not every floating structure is a vessel. "To state the obvious, a wooden washtub, a plastic dishpan, a swimming platform on pontoons ... or Pinocchio (when inside the whale) are not 'vessels'", Breyer said, "even if they are 'artificial contrivances' capable of floating, moving under tow, and incidentally carrying even a fair-sized item or two when they do so."