Next week the U.S. Supreme Court will be busy with Fourth Amendment, criminal sentencing, arbitration, patent and tax questions. (As always, click case numbers for the Oyez.com case summary. Lawyers USA subscribers can also get case info by searching the archives on our website, here.)
On Monday, the Supreme Court takes up a search and seizure issue in Virginia v. Moore, 06-1082, where the justices will hear arguments on whether the Fourth Amendment requires the suppression of evidence obtained incident to an arrest when the arrest violates a provision of state law. Argument is at 10 a.m.
Also on Monday, the Court will go all Hollywood, hearing the case of Preston v. Ferrer, 06-1463, which asks whether a contract dispute must go arbitration pursuant to the contract’s arbitration clause when a state administrative agency has exclusive jurisdiction over the disputed issue.
The Ferrer in the case is TV adjudicator “Judge Alex,” whose dispute with his former manager has reached the nation’s highest court. The parties had a management contract that included an arbitration clause. The manager sued Ferrer claiming unpaid commissions. Ferrer countered, arguing that the contract itself was void because the manager was not licensed as required by California law, and also claiming that California’s labor commission has exclusive jurisdiction over the issue, which trumps the arbitration agreement. Although the Supremes don’t allow cameras in the courtroom – which means Alex can’t feature this dispute on his nationally syndicated show – there is no word on whether the TV justices will be present at the argument, which starts at 11 a.m.
Tuesday will be Mandatory sentencing day at the Court, with a 10 a.m. oral arguments in the case of U.S. v. Rodriquez, 06-1646, which asks whether a crime qualifies as “serious” – warranting a higher sentence under the federal career criminal law – when the underlying offense is not grave in itself, but carries a high prison sentence because it was not the first offense. Then at 11 a.m., the justices will hear arguments in Begay v. U.S., 06-11543, which asks whether driving while intoxicated qualifies as a violent felony for purposes of the federal career criminal law, triggering the federal career criminal law’s 15-year mandatory minimum sentence.
On Wednesday, the Court takes up patent law is Quanta Computer, Inc., et al. v. LG Electronics, Inc., 06-937, pondering whether a patent holder may seek royalties from companies other than its direct purchaser as the patented product is integrated into larger components during the manufacturing process. Then tax law takes center stage in MeadWestvaco Corp. v. Illinois Department of Revenue, 06-1413, which asks whether a parent company can use a division as a non-taxable investment when the division is involved in a substantially different business segment but the parent provides cash infusions, investment advice and oversight.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg said the fact that there are two Jewish Supreme Court justices on the bench – and the fact that their faith played no role in their selection – shows how far America has come. (AP).
Meanwhile, embattled Republican Rep. John T. Doolittle, whose chances of reelection have become clouded as the result of an ethics probe, announced that this term will be his last. (CQ Politics).
The National Taxpayer Advocate said in a report that this year’s biggest tax filing problems were Congress’s fault. (AP).
Democratic lawmakers will have a new message when they return from winter recess: “It’s the economy, stupid.” (AP via Yahoo! News)