SCOTUS News: Week of October 9th, 2016

During FantasySCOTUS season, LexPredict will keep you updated on some of the latest news from the Supreme Court. Here are a few highlights from this week:

Apple v. Samsung was argued earlier this week. The issue in this case is whether Samsung violated patent law by using parts in their phones similar to parts found in the iPhone. News from the arguments on Tuesday suggests that things are not looking good for Samsung. Caveat emptor, however; we won’t have the full decision for some time yet. Though Apple and Samsung have been in and out of court for the last half-decade or so, the granting of certiorari to their case presents the first product design case to go to the Supreme Court in over 100 years. Even without the halcyon loftiness of the late Justice Scalia’s legendary retorts, we may yet see some shout-outs to vintage case law when the Justices present their opinions.

– In a per curiam decision for Bosse v. Oklahoma, the Supreme Court vacated a lower court decision that would have overturned a prior Supreme Court case regarding the usage of victim impact statements at trial. This is a very narrow ruling, and the major contention of the case was whether the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals erred in affirming a sentence that was originally based on victim impact statements that should not have been used due to a prior Eighth Amendment case.

Ziglar v. Turkmen incorporates several cases. This story goes back to former US Attorney General John Ashcroft and his detention of immigrants after the events of 9/11. This case has been in the system for years, but the SCOTUS granted certiorari this week to several different cases all consolidated under this one banner. The late Justice Scalia will be absent from these proceedings, but other Justices will be as well. In yet another twist of this unconventional session, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor have both recused. Justice Kagan served as US Solicitor General under President Obama, and it is believed she has recused herself due to prior knowledge of the cases. Justice Sotomayor has recused herself for similar reasons, having once served as a judge in the Court of Appeals of the 2nd Circuit at a time when the petitioners were first bringing their case to light in New York.

Hernandez v. Mesa was granted certiorari this week as well. The case concerns a U.S. Border Patrol agent who shot and killed a Mexican citizen who attempted to enter the U.S. illegally. A gun in the U.S. shot and killed a foreign national on their home country’s ground. The issue is whether the deceased person is protected under the laws of the U.S. Constitution.