May 10 Violent video games, protests at
funerals for U.S. military members, a Swiss watch copyright
dispute and vaccine-maker liability are among the cases that
Solicitor General Elena Kagan would confront if approved for
the U.S. Supreme Court.
President Barack Obama nominated Kagan on Monday to replace
outgoing liberal Justice John Paul Stevens. The retirement of
the 90-year-old Stevens will take effect at the end of the
current court term in late June.
For its upcoming term, the court has agreed to decide a
number of major cases. They include:
VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES
* Whether a California law banning the sale and rental of
violent video games to minors violated constitutional
It will mark the first time the high court will hear and
decide a case involving government regulation of video games.
The Supreme Court will consider whether violent material in
video games should be subject to the same legal standard the
courts have used to prohibit the sale of sexually explicit
material to minors.
ANTI-GAY PROTESTS AT MILITARY FUNERALS
* Whether constitutional free-speech rights protected
anti-gay protests by members of a Kansas church at funerals for
U.S. military members killed in Iraq.
The protesters argued their message and picketing were
constitutionally protected, even though it involved a private
The church members have picketed at funerals of U.S.
military members killed in Iraq or Afghanistan as part of their
religious view that God is punishing America for its tolerance
of gays and lesbians.
* A copyright infringement dispute between Costco Wholesale
Corp, the top U.S. warehouse club operator, and a Swatch Group
unit over imported Swiss-made watches.
Costco obtained the watches through a series of
transactions. Swatch Group's Omega unit first sold the watches
to authorized distributors overseas. Unidentified third parties
bought the watches and sold them to a New York company, which
in turn sold them to Costco.
The case has important implications for discount sellers
like Costco and other companies that form the annual market
estimated at more than $50 billion for goods that are purchased
abroad, then imported and resold without permission of the
BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR NASA EMPLOYEES
* Whether NASA background investigations, required of
scientists, engineers and all other employees at its Jet
Propulsion Laboratory in California, violated their privacy
All positions at the laboratory, owned by the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration and operated by the
California Institute of Technology, are filled by contract
employees. Employees who do not agree to the checks could lose
The ruling could affect the background investigation
process used by the federal government for more than 50 years.
LAWSUITS AGAINST VACCINE MANUFACTURERS
* Whether a federal law protected vaccine manufacturers
from lawsuits in state court seeking to hold them liable for
The case involved a lawsuit by the parents of a child who
suffered seizures after her third dose of a
diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, or DTP, vaccine. They sued the
manufacturer for alleged design defects in the vaccine.
The ruling could affect about 5,000 federal claims alleging
a link between childhood vaccines and neurological damage like
autism, and whether those claimants can also seek damages under
(Reporting by James Vicini; Editing by Alistair Bell and