Breakingviews

U.S. insider trading cops risk pasting from bench

January 30, 2015

Prosecutors’ aggressive view of the law has already irked appeals judges, and the Supreme Court may be next. A case on the definition of an illegal tip could give Justice Scalia his long-sought chance to rein in Wall Street watchdogs. Their loss would be a win for clearer rules.

REIT scandal could be good test for Sarbanes-Oxley

October 30, 2014

American Realty Capital Properties says its false financials were intentionally left uncorrected. Details are scant, but that sounds tailor-made for the Enron-inspired law. After more than a decade as an afterthought for U.S. prosecutors, the reform may have a chance to shine.

TV broadcasters missing big picture in Aereo fight

August 29, 2014

CBS, Disney and others oppose the Barry Diller-backed streaming startup’s rebirth as a cable firm. But conceding could put online services and, say, Time Warner Cable on equal legal footing and create more competition for content. That’s a win for viewers and networks alike.

Aereo is dead, long live TV disruption

June 25, 2014

The U.S. Supreme Court says the Barry Diller-backed streaming startup violates copyright law. Legal loopholes abound, however, and investors and viewers will reward those who find ways to exploit them. The likes of CBS and Disney can’t afford to spend much time celebrating.

Supremes ride shotgun with Tesla down open road

June 19, 2014

The top U.S. court unanimously ruled that abstract ideas even if run through a computer can be freely adapted. Elon Musk’s electric carmaker also just opened up its technology. Both decisions spread an important message to the vicious world of patent fighting: share, don’t hoard.

U.S. patent law mission creep needs to be reversed

November 17, 2011

The system is supposed to reward inventors but not stifle innovation. Fuzzy concepts like the interpretation of data aren’t protected. Yet one firm says it owns a way to read medical tests. The U.S. Supreme Court has a chance to serve the law’s original intent by disagreeing.

“No harm, no foul” legal concept worth preserving

November 28, 2011

The U.S. Supreme Court is due to hear arguments on Monday over a consumer’s right to sue despite suffering no obvious injury. That only encourages dubious litigation against corporate America and upends constitutional logic. The high court now has a chance to squelch such cases.

Top U.S. judges may drown out healthcare debate

March 23, 2012

The most verbose Supreme Court on record will next week hear a hefty three days of oral argument on President Obama’s landmark reform. If past patterns hold, the justices will spend more time testing each other than listening to lawyers. It’s the legal system at its hammiest.

Obama backs healthcare defender – until he doesn’t

March 29, 2012

Despite top lawyer Donald Verrilli’s stumble before the Supreme Court, the White House gave him a confidence vote. That’s what famed Yankees manager Billy Martin would get before being fired. Verrilli’s miss may not change the result but it costs him credibility - if not his job.

Bigger bucks come to Supreme Court clerks who wait

October 3, 2012

Top U.S. law firms are offering $280,000 signing bonuses to lure the best young lawyers. But many do stints with the government first. A new Breakingviews calculator shows how that path can be financially smarter over the long run. Uncle Sam gets to hire the best talent, too.