Still Waiting on Those 5-4 Opinions:

The Court issued four more opinions this morning. Three were unanimous, and one (Engquist v. Oregon Dept. of Agriculture) was decided 6-3. Details here.

Zathras (mail):
The Quanta case is probably the most important of these. For the second time in the last few years, SCOTUS administered a severe slapdown on the Federal Circuit's view of patent law. This opinion might have even further-reaching effects than KSR.
6.9.2008 11:11am
Soronel Haetir (mail):
Not just the second major patent slap against the federal circuit. I forget the name, but the ruling that patent invalidity rulings not be set aside by finding of non-infringement was also a major step. I seem to recall a couple other important ones in the last five years or so, but not the details.
6.9.2008 1:42pm
The SCOTUS of course has the final say, but LG is yet another in a group of cases where I have to wonder if the Court has actually read Title 35, including those portions dealing with "contributory infringement".

Of course, it does not help when oral argument is presented by those select few who seem to be constantly before the Court. They are fine and able counsel, but I still hew to the line that there are numerous other fine and able counsel who also happen to know the substantive law backward and forward. They would easily, for example, responded to the "pedal" hypo in a clear and concise manner that would have demonstrated its numerous faults and contradictions.
6.9.2008 2:01pm
Wererabbit (mail):
The Federal Circuit is getting to have as bad a record as the 9th Circuit on cert. Not even the 9th Circuit gets unanimously reversed as often.
6.9.2008 2:23pm
Re: (Engquist v. Oregon Dept. of Agriculture) was decided 6-3

"Individual government workers generally cannot make a constitutional case out of their workplace discrimination claims, the Supreme Court said Monday in a ruling that leaves public employees with fewer legal options than those in the private sector."

Seems this makes Gov/public employees second class citizens where the constitution is concerned.
6.9.2008 3:36pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
The only way gov't employees come off second class is that Congress tends to enact workplace (incl. sexual harrassment) laws that apply only to the private sector. Gov't employees try to get around that by arguing that the Constitution does apply in the government sector. The solution is for Congress to apply its laws to its own operations.
6.9.2008 4:43pm
Humble Law Student (mail):
Ugh, can the court please hurry up and issue Boumediene!
6.9.2008 5:36pm
The Federal Circuit is getting to have as bad a record as the 9th Circuit on cert. Not even the 9th Circuit gets unanimously reversed as often.

But that's primarily because the Federal Circuit is the only circuit to address certain issues, e.g., patents or government claims. This means:

(1) A higher percentage of its cases are likely to be significant in terms of both issues and consequences, making it more important to correct perceived errors in reasoning (which is not usually a reason the Court takes a case); and
(2) Unlike other appellate courts, it doesn't have the benefit of looking to (and following) what other circuits have done when confronting an issue.

So it isn't really apples-to-apples to compare the Federal Circuit with the other circuits. The Ninth Circuit, by contrast, is equally situated to the other twelve appellate courts, which is what makes its reversal rate (and unanimous reversal rate) more worthy of attention. It has the benefit of seeing what other circuits have done on the same issue, and it more often will stake out a completely different approach, which more often ends up getting slapped down by the Court.
6.9.2008 6:33pm