Blog Network

About The Bloggers


V-Day Reader Poll: Best Romantic-Sounding Supreme Court Case

As you are all no doubt aware, Sunday is Valentine's Day. Bitter Lawyer beat us to the interview with playmate/divorce lawyer Corri Fetman, who recently became embroiled in a trademark suit with Hef et al. over the title of an advice column she used to write for Playboy magazine. So, the next best thing, I figured, would be to have a little fun with the Supreme Court. I've already sent out my cards to the Justices, so let's take a look back at some of the cases decided by the Court with holiday-themed captions. Vote for your favorite of the following five, or nominate your own in the comments.

  • 1) Rose v. Rose, 481 U.S. 619 (1987): Deals with the decidedly unromantic topics of war injuries and deadbeat dads. The Court held that a Tennessee state court had jurisdiction to hold a disabled veteran in contempt for failing to pay child support, rejecting the argument that only the Veteran's Administration and Social Security Administration could determine what child support payments could be ordered paid from disability benefits, which constituted the father's sole income.
  •  2) Fullilove v. Klutznick, 448 U.S. 448 (1980): You know you remember it from Con Law. One of those cases where you have to draw a Venn diagram to figure out which justices agreed on which issues. But the bottom line was that the Minority Business Enterprise program, which required that at least 10 percent of federal funds for public works projects end up in the pockets of minority-owned businesses, was held to be constitutional. At least until the decision in Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pena, 515 U.S. 200 (1995).
  • 3) Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967): The only case that belongs on the list for subject matter as well as name. This was, of course, the landmark 9-0 decision by which the Court held Virginia's anti-miscegenation statute, which derived from the "Racial Integrity Act of 1924," violated the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the 14th Amendment. The Court declared the statute devoid of any purpose other than "invidious racial discrimination," and concluded it was "designed to maintain White Supremacy." And that, the nine said, was not cool.
  • 4) Valentine v. United States ex rel. Neidecker, 299 U.S. 5 (1936): Saved some American citizens from extradition to France to face criminal charges. The extradition treaty then in effect between the two countries exempted citizens of the "asylum nation." Though the federal government was perfectly willing to waive this protection and ship the accused overseas, the Court held that the President had no authority to do so, presumably sparing them several years confined in a smoky bar eating old bread and cheese and drinking bad wine.
  • 5) Arrow-Hart & Hegeman Electric Co. v. FTC, 291 U.S. 587 (1934): An early victory of conglomeration over attempted trust-busting. After the FTC had commenced a proceeding to force a holding company to divest its interests in two competing electrical equipment manufacturers, the holding company was dissolved and a new corporation was formed by merger, which just so happened to hold all the assets previously held by the two competing operating companies. The FTC's "same difference" argument was rejected, since the newly formed corporation didn't hold the stock of any other entity, and didn't even exist at the time the FTC started proceedings. Thus, the agency had no jurisdiction to order the new company to do anything. Brilliant!

Don't forget to vote in comments, below. Have a great weekend, and a happy Valentine's Day. I'll leave the Presidents' Day commentary for Bruce next week!

Posted by Eric Lipman on February 12, 2010 at 01:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)


About ALM  |  About  |  Customer Support  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms & Conditions