WesternGeco LLC v Ion Geophysical Corp.

WesternGeco sought review of the Federal Circuit decision that foreign profits cannot be awarded as patent infringement damages under 35 USC 271(f)(2) and 284. The Court, 7-2, reversed. The majority held that the provisions at issue have a domestic focus on the infringement and the domestic act of supplying components to a foreign infringer and thus foreign profits damages are authorized. Gorsuch, joined by Breyer, dissented arguing that foreign profits are not available as damages as the patent act focuses on patent activity in the United States not activity outside the United States, 271(f)(2) only modifies when something in made the United States and does not extend patent protection beyond the borders of the United States, reading the statute as the majority does will make component suppliers liable in circumstances where someone who assembles an infringing produced entirely outside the United States is not and invites other countries to assess damages in a similar manner.

Wisconsin Central Ltd v United States

Central appealed the 7th Circuit decision holding stock options as taxable “money remuneration” under 26 USC 3231(e)(1). Resolving a circuit split, the court reversed 5-4. The majority held that the plain meaning of “money” is a medium of exchange and stock options are not a medium of exchange, this is consistent with how money and stock have been treated in tax statues including the social security act, the contemporary understanding of the phrase by the predecessor of the IRS and the term scrip is not ordinarily understood to include stock, the regulations relied upon by the dissent affirm the majority definition, there is no ambiguity and thus no chevron deference and reiterated statutory meaning is fixed as of the date of enactment while new facts will require new application thus preventing the dissent’s alleged time warp. Breyer joined by Ginsberg, Sotomayor and Kagan, dissented arguing that money compensation is ambiguous under the definition property viewed as convertible into money as paychecks are not mediums of exchange yet are taxed and the same can be said of stock options, the conception of money has changed since the 1930s, looking to statutory purpose and history demonstrate it makes no sense to exclude stock options as they can be readily valued unlike perks such as free transportation for life, contemporary regulation included scrip in the definition which is broad enough to cover stock options and this is reasonable and should be given deference.

North Carolina v Covington

North Carolina appealed the remedial ore in a redistricting case. The Court, with Thomas dissenting, affirmed in part and reversed in part per curium. It held that Covington and other plaintiffs had standing in this case as the challenge was to racial gerrymandering not specific line drawing, there was sufficient circumstantial evidence as to four district to support a finding of racial gerrymandering, the district court had a duty to remedy the racial gerrymandering and thus did not need to allow the legislature a third opportunity to redraw those district lines, but, the district court overstepped its authority as to districts which surround the four unconstitutional districts as redrawing those district lines was unnecessary to remedy the racial gerrymandering harm and thus there was no role for the district court as to those surrounding districts. Thomas dissented arguing the case should have been fully briefed and argued before decision.

Sexton v Beaudreaux

California sought review of the 9th Circuit decision granting habeas relief to Beaudreaux. The Court, with Breyer dissenting without opinion,  summarily reversed per curium holding the 9th Circuit failed to consider the alternate ground to deny relief that Beaudreaux failed to argue in his state habeas case the photo identifications in this case were not  reliable under the totality of the circumstances  and such an argument would have failed given the witnesses opportunity view Beaudreaux, paid attention to the shooting , chose Beaudreaux twice in photo arrays and was confident in his identification at the preliminary hearing based on Beaudreaux’s gait and that the 9th Circuit for failed to give required deference to the  California court decisions in this matter.

Sause v Bauer

Sause appealed the 10th circuit decision granting qualified immunity to Bauer and other officers. The Court summarily reversed and remanded holding that Sause’s First Amendment claim that the officers interfered with her right to pray and the qualified immunity decision both require that the 10th circuit resolve 4th Amendment issues about the officers presence in Sause’s home even though 4th Amendment claims were not appealed.