Today marks yet another Monday when Court watchers were anticipating decisions in huge Supreme Court cases: 1) King v. Burwell, the challenge to Obamacare led by conservative activists which could nix healthcare subsidies for low-to-middle income people in 34 states and 2) same-sex marriage: six cases from four states have been consolidated; the Court will rule on whether same-sex couples have a right to marry and whether state bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional.
The Court issued four decisions today, but nothing on Obamacare or same-sex marriage. Decisions in both are expected in the next week, either this Thursday or next Monday. Thursday also marks the final day for Arkansas state Supreme Court decisions.
Among the decisions that did come today: Kimbell v. Marvel, the so-called “Spiderman case.” The Court ruled 6-3 in favor of Disney’s Marvel Entertainment. Stephen Kimble, the inventor of a Spider-Man toy (a web-shooting glove), asked the Court to overturn a precedent which limited royalties after a patent has expired.
Justice Elena Kagan wrote the majority opinion and did NOT waste the opportunity to make Spiderman jokes:
“…the decision’s close relation to a whole web of precedents means that reversing it could threaten others…”
“Patents endow their holders with certain superpowers, but only for a limited time.”
“What we can decide, we can undecide. But stare decisis teaches that we should exercise that authority sparingly. Cf. S. Lee and S. Ditko, Amazing Fantasy No. 15: ‘SpiderMan,’ p. 13 (1962) (‘[I]n this world, with great power there must also come — great responsibility’).”