“The Supreme Court this Term mourned the passing of long-serving member Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” noted MoloLamken partner Robert Kry. “In her seat, the Court welcomed Justice Amy Coney Barrett, a respected law professor at Notre Dame Law School and judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.” “While Justice Barrett’s arrival had a noticeable impact in some areas, the Court’s business docket largely reflected consensus,” added Michael Pattillo, another firm partner. “As usual, many of the Court’s decisions were unanimous, even in cases with profound implications.”
The Supreme Court addressed many significant issues this Term. In one decision, the Court sharply curtailed the Federal Trade Commission’s ability to seek monetary relief for unfair or deceptive trade practices, rejecting a statutory interpretation the agency had pressed in courts across the country for decades. In another case, the Court rejected the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s request for special treatment under the federal antitrust laws.
The Court decided a trio of cases involving disputes over the Constitution’s structural provisions that have major consequences for business. In two cases, the Court found that Congress had impermissibly restricted the Executive Branch’s oversight of its own officers—in one instance by limiting the President’s authority to remove the head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and in another by preventing the Patent Office’s Director from reviewing decisions of administrative patent judges. In a third case, the Court held that Congress had granted the judiciary too much authority by allowing plaintiffs to sue for violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act without any showing of concrete harm.
The Court delivered its most important copyright decision in years, holding that Google’s copying of a portion of Oracle’s Java application programming interface to build the Android smartphone operating system was a protected “fair use.” And the Court limited the reach of a major computer crime law—a decision with important implications not only for federal criminal prosecutions, but also for trade secret cases and other business disputes where companies assert civil claims under the statute.
The MoloLamken Supreme Court Business Briefing has been widely praised in both the business and legal communities for its clarity and insight. To read this year’s edition, please click here. If you wish to receive a paper copy, please email Mike or Robert.
MoloLamken handles complex business disputes, IP disputes, and white collar defense and investigations in the trial and appellate courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States, as well as arbitral forums. The firm’s international client base includes leading corporations, hedge funds, private equity firms, investors, inventors, executives, and foreign sovereigns. With offices in New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., MoloLamken represents clients around the world in some of the most significant disputes and investigations in the U.S. today.
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