Monday, June 19, 2017

Loyola Professors Commenting on SCOTUS News

Loyola Law School, Los Angeles professors are commenting on the news arising out of the U.S. Supreme Court today:


Gill v. Whitford (Wisconsin gerrymandering case)

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California, San Francisco County (civil procedure/personal jurisdiction)
  • Professor Adam Zimmerman: “In terms of impact, I think this case is kind of the sleeper case of the term,” says the complex litigation expert and Gerald Rosen Fellow. “It's going to impact thousands of cases in state MDLs, class actions and, I think, federal MDL litigation (which comprises nearly 40% of all cases in our federal courts.)” Zimmerman’s immediate reaction to the opinion is available online via @Adam_Zimmerman
  • Professors Allan Ides & Simona Grossi: The civil procedure experts filed an amicus brief in the case (below). 
Matal v. Tam (The Slants case; disparagement clause in trademark approval/First Amendment)
  • Professor Justin Levitt: This case decides that the Federal Trademark Office can't refuse to register a trademark that may ‘disparage’ or ‘bring ... into contemp[t] or disrepute’ individuals or groups,” writes the constitutional law expert. “The case follows a line of recent cases looking very skeptically at government laws or policies that burden speech -- and an even longer line of recent cases looking even more skeptically at government laws or policies that treat some private speech worse than others based on its content or viewpoint. The Court divided 4-4 on the precise legal framework, but all 8 Justices hearing the case (Justice Gorsuch wasn't yet on the Court when this was heard) agreed that the statute prohibiting registration of disparaging marks was out of bounds, and that the question wasn't particularly close. This impacts not only The Slants (which will be able to get their name trademarked), but also some other prominent and very controversial brands, like the Washington Redskins, whose trademark had been canceled as ‘disparaging’ in June 2014.” 
  • Professor Jennifer Rothman: “The decision is no surprise. The 8-0 decision -- that Gorsuch did not participate in -- holds that the bar to registering trademarks that are deemed ‘disparaging’ or offensive is struck down. This means that The Slants can register their mark for their band, even if some view it as disparaging or insulting to Asian people, and it also means that the Washington Redskins marks which were cancelled for the same reason will be reinstated. The decision also likely eliminates the bar on registering marks that are scandalous or immoral."

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