SCOTUS Rules on Gay Adoption, Apple ... Batmobile

And other Supreme Court decisions on this busy Monday
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2016 12:04 PM CST
SCOTUS Rules on Gay Adoption, Apple ... Batmobile
In this photo taken June 30, 2014, the Supreme Court is seen in Washington.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that Alabama's top court went too far when it tried to upend a lesbian mother's adoption of her longtime partner's children, the AP reports. Before their breakup, one partner bore three children; the other formally adopted them in Georgia, which they were told courts would be more receptive. Alabama courts got involved when the birth mother tried to prevent her ex from visits with the children; the Alabama Supreme Court sided with the birth mother in refusing to recognize the other woman as a parent and declaring the adoption invalid under Georgia law. But the high court ruled that "the Alabama Supreme Court erred in refusing to grant that judgment full faith and credit." Other rulings handed down Monday:

  • The court reversed the 2002 murder conviction of Louisiana death row inmate Michael Wearry, who was convicted in the 1998 death of a 16-year-old pizza delivery driver near Baton Rouge. The justices said that prosecutors should have turned over evidence casting doubt on the credibility of a prison informant and another witness who testified against Wearry. The court also said the state failed to disclose medical records raising questions about a witness' description of the crime.
  • The court rejected an appeal from Apple Inc. and left in place a ruling that the company conspired with publishers to raise electronic book prices when it sought to challenge Amazon's dominance. Apple wanted to raise prices to wrest book sales away from Amazon, which controlled 90% of the market and sold most popular books online for $9.99; Amazon's share of the market dropped to 60%. The 2-1 ruling by the New York-based appeals court had sustained a trial judge's finding that Apple orchestrated an illegal conspiracy to raise prices.
  • Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is staying out of a copyright dispute involving Mark Towle, a Californian who produced replicas of the Batmobile for car-collecting fans. The justices let stand a lower-court ruling that said the Batmobile's bat-like appearance and high-tech gadgets make it a character that can't be duplicated without permission from DC Comics, the copyright holder. Towle produced replicas of the car as it appeared in the 1960s television show featuring Adam West and the 1989 movie starring Michael Keaton, selling them for about $90,000 each.
(One recent Supreme Court case hinged on a comma.)

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