Elena Kagan – Spider-Man fan!

Supreme Court JusticesThere is not a group of nine people that I respect more in this world than the Supreme Court Justices. I certainly do not agree with all their decisions. That being said, I find them to be intelligent and interesting. Their ability to work with one another even when they disagree vehemently is a model that I only dream Congress members might emulate.

They appear to largely and genuinely like one another. This attitude seems to have been fostered largely by former Chief Justice Rehnquist and continued on under Chief Justice Roberts. I read Supreme Court opinions on cases I find interesting and their humor and passion always shines through. Some Justices write in a more legalese fashion that my non-legally trained mind finds difficult to follow but I try my best.

Justice David Souter is a personal hero and I loved reading the clean and dispassionate logic of his thought processes which appear in what we call opinions. It was like reading a great philosopher.

Justice Elana Kagan just wrote the opinion on a copyright case involving Marvel Comics and a fellow who invented a web-shooting device. The company began marketing a similar tool and agreed to pay him a great deal of money and a percentage of sales. They agreed to payment in perpetuity but only later came across a ruling that limited payment to twenty years. They tried to enforce this limit while the inventor, predictably, wanted to continue with the original agreement.

Kagan wrote the majority opinion joined by Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor. Justices Alito filed a dissenting opinion, in which Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Thomas joined.

As Chief Justice; Roberts gets to decide who writes the opinion, and knowing Justice Kagan was a comic book fan, kindly allowed her the opportunity. This is a classic example of the congeniality of the court.

In any case, Justice Kagan got to slip several Spider-Man references into the opinion including the classic with great power comes great responsibility line that is the center of Peter Parker’s philosophy.

This story makes me happy. Good for Chief Justice Roberts. Good for Justice Kagan for grabbing the opportunity with both hands.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Black Sphere
Next Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition

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