The Supreme Court issued four new decisions Monday, including Judge Gorsuch’s first opinion. There were also few new orders Monday and Tuesday, but none of the opinions or orders concerned the most closely watched cases of the term.
Among the rulings was Judge Gorsuch’s first opinion in Henson v. Santander Consumer USA Inc. A new justice’s first opinion is usually writing for a unanimous court in a relatively non-controversial topic, and that’s what we have here. The Supreme Court affirmed the lower court’s decision, ruling a company may collect debts that it purchased for its own account without triggering the statutory definition of a “debt collector” under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
…overturned a lower court’s decision that had prevented Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis AG from selling its copycat version of California-based Amgen Inc’s Neupogen until six months after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved it.
The decision has major implications for the pharmaceutical industry because it will dictate how long brand-name makers of biologic drugs can keep near-copies, called biosimilars, off the market. Even the six months at issue in the case can mean hundreds of millions of dollars in sales.
Health insurers expect biosimilars to be cheaper than original brands, like generics, saving consumers billions of dollars each year.
The Supreme Court ruled that men and women must be treated equally when it comes to the citizen status of their children born abroad in Sessions v. Morales-Santana . The 8-0 opinion (without Gorsuch) was written by Justice by Justice Ginsburg while Justice Thomas filed a concurring opinion that Justice Alito joined. Until this ruling, the federal law included an exception for an unwed U.S.-citizen mother, but not a father, to the physical-presence requirement for the transmission of U.S. citizenship to a child born abroad. The court ruled the exception an impermissible violation of the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection. The result will be now that no-one will be exempt from the physical-presence requirement unless new legislation is passed.
In orders, the Justices agreed to take a case next term called Oil States Energy Services v. Greene’s Energy Group. As Amy Howe of the indispensable SCOTUSblog reports “[t]he case is a challenge to the constitutionality of an administrative process known as inter partes review, an administrative mechanism that can be used to contest the validity of patents that have already been issued.”
More from Ms. Howe on Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, on whether Colorado’s law forcing him to create custom wedding cakes for same-sex weddings violates Jack Phillips’ right to free expression guaranteed by the First Amendment:
Phillips filed his petition for review last July, but the justices did not consider it at a private conference until February 24 of this year. Since then, they have relisted the case 13 times – or, as Marianne Goodland of The Colorado Independent puts it, a “baker’s dozen.”
The Court only has two more weeks on its schedule before breaking for the summer on June 26th, so stay tuned as all the submitted cases will be decided by then.