Supreme Court to rule on specialty license plates

Supreme Court to rule on specialty license plates

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] agreed last Friday to add three cases [order list, PDF] to the docket for the upcoming term. The first case, Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc. [cert. petition, PDF] involves state-issued specialty license plates and whether the First Amendment’s free speech protection allows [LAT report] state governments to put limits on the range and type of messages displayed on these plates. The state of Texas contends that the government-speech doctrine [Cornell LII backgrounder] allows a state to choose the messages and symbols that will appear on its specialty license plates.

In the second case, Brumfield v. Cain [cert. petition, PDF], the court will decide whether a defendant convicted prior to the Supreme Court’s decision in Atkins v. Virginia [Oyez backgrounder], has a right to an independent court hearing on whether he is mentally disabled and therefore ineligible for the death penalty.

In the third case, Commil USA, LLC v. Cisco Systems, Inc. [cert. petition, PDF] the court is faced with the issue of “whether the Federal Circuit erred in holding that a defendant’s belief that a patent is invalid is a defense to induced infringement under 35 USC § 271(b) [text].” A second issue in the case was denied certiorari.