Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dean Milk Co. v. Madison (US Supreme Court, 1951)

Beru Lars would pour a tall glass of blue milk for her husband Owen and their nephew Luke every night with dinner. They relied on the "Grade A" stamp on their bottles of blue milk to know that the blue milk they drank was pure, as well as rich, delicious, nutritious and refreshing after a hard day's work on the moisture farm.
They rely on their local government on Tatooine to provide that "Grade A" stamp. Cities and towns on Tatooine passed their own measures to provide inspection of blue milk.

The General Ordinances of the City of Mos Eisley, § 7.21 provides as follows:‘It shall be unlawful for any person, guild or corporation to sell, offer for sale or have in his or its possession with intent to sell or deliver in the City of Mos Eisley, any blue milk, blue cream or blue milk products as pasteurized unless the same shall have been pasteurized and bottled in the manner herein provided within a radius of eight kilometers from the central portion of the City of Mos Eisley otherwise known as Kerner Plaza, at a plant housing the droids, equipment and facilities, all of which shall have been approved by the Imperial Ministry of Public Health.’

The Bantha Herder Guild, an Agamar based trade association and blue milk distributing corporation (you may be familiar with their "Happy Banthas come from Agamar" ad campaign), sought a declaratory judgment that the Mos Eisley ordinance is invalid as a violation of the Interplanetary Commerce Clause of the Galactic Constitution.

The Galactic Supreme Court agreed with the Bantha Herder Guild that the ordinance imposed an undue burden on interplanetary commerce.

The Galactic Senate has recognized the appropriateness of local regulation of the sale of blue milk. The avowed purpose of the ordinance was legitimate. Regulation of blue milk and blue milk products may appropriately be regulated in the interest of the safety, health and well-being of local communities. After all, Banthas are filthy animals. Mos Eisley has an legitimate local public interest in making sure blue milk is processed in facilities that are sanitary, so that all blue milk sold to the public in Mos Eisley is fit for consumption, wholesome, and sufficiently blue.

But this regulation in practical effect excluded from distribution in Mos Eisley wholesome blue milk produced and pasteurized on Agamar. It is immaterial that Tatooine blue milk from outside the Mos Eisley area was subjected to the same proscription as that moving in interplanetary commerce.

The Court stated: "In thus erecting an economic barrier protecting a major local industry against competition from without the planet, Mos Eisley plainly discriminated against interplanetary commerce. This it cannot do, even in the exercise of its unquestioned power to protect the health and safety of its people, if reasonable nondiscriminatory alternatives, adequate to conserve legitimate local interests, are available."

It appeared to the majority of the Court that reasonable and adequate alternatives were available. Mos Eisley could have adequately relied on the Imperial Public Health Service to inspect the blue milk processing plants on Agamar and give them safety ratings.

The Court concluded by declaring that that "one planet in its dealings with another may not place itself in a position of economic isolation."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spring Break!

Sorry guys! We've had a busy week and expect another one coming up- The last couple of days have been dedicated to writing assignments and cover letters, and next week has been "called" by Spring Break. But we'll be back after that!

As an apology for the two of you that follow us, here's a video I found on the Internet!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Hypothetical 4 [See White v. Samsung Electronics America, Inc.- (United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, 1993)]

Cybot Galactica, a mass producer of protocol droids is getting ready to promote their new model of droids based on the old 3P0 series designs. Knowing that their customers use the droids to interact with humans, Cybot Galactica attemps to show off how futuristic and interactive the new droids are by dressing them up as a human female. See advertisement below:

C3P0, now a celebrity from his association with the New Republic hero Luke Skywalker, sees this image and wishes to sue for violation of his property right of his identity. What result?

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Erie R. Co. v Tompkins- US Supreme Court (1938)

Ponda Baba, an Aqualish smuggler, was peacefully enjoying a drink in Chalmun's Cantina in Mos Eisley, Tatooine one afternoon when a young Jedi approached him, and began to hassle the bartender Wuher, one of Ponda's friends, for a beer. Seeing that the Jedi had not paid for his drink, and knowing how upset Wuher got when droids entered the cantina, even briefly, Ponda decided to stick up for his friend, and had his partner, Dr. Cornelius Evasan translate his dislike for the arrogant Jedi. Suddenly, an older Jedi appeared and unprovokedly sliced off Ponda's arm with a lightsaber.

Under Tatooine case law (law created by court decisions, rather than by legislative statutes), Jedi were given a certain amount of leeway (to prevent unnecessary Imperial attention), and Ponda knew that any planetary court was likely to dismiss any claim he filed against his attackers.

Ponda therefore decided to file a claim in Tatooine's Imperial District Court based on diversity of citizenship (usually only Imperial issues are tried in Imperial courts, but planetary issues are allowed when, as in Ponda's case, both parties are from different planets and the amount of damages requested exceeds 75,000 credits. This is known as diversity of citizenship, and is meant to protect the non-planetary resident from bias in a planetary court).

When a planetary issue is tried in Imperial Court, the court is required to apply planetary law rather than Imperial law, in order to prevent plaintiffs from bringing suit in Imperial law just to escape unfavorable planetary law (this is known as "forum shopping"). However, at the time Ponda brought his suit against the Jedis, the Imperial court was only required to apply "written" planetary law, which included planetary statutes, but not planetary case law. Since there was no Tatooine statute prohibiting Jedi violence in cantinas, the Imperial court was free to decide the case based on Imperial common law (basically however they wanted), and awarded Ponda his requested damages.

The Jedi appealed the ruling, which was affirmed by the Imperial Appellate Court, and finally petitioned the Imperial Supreme Court. The Imperial Supreme Court reversed the decision, and held in favor of the Jedi. They reasoned that allowing Imperial courts to apply Imperial common law in cases with only planetary issues created a loophole to the prohibition of forum shopping. Under the law as it was, anyone (like Ponda) could use diversity of citizenship as a means of avoiding bringing suit in a planetary court. They pointed to an earlier case (Black & White AT-ATs v Brown & Yellow AT-ATs), where an AT-AT rental company actually moved to a different planet in order to meet the requirements of diversity of citizenship and avoid planetary law. Based on that negative precedent, the Imperial Supreme Court reversed, and held that Imperial courts were hereinafter required to apply both planetary statutes AND planetary case law when deciding diversity of citizenship cases.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Trial of Han Solo

This comes on recommendation from our friend Andy E., after seeing how great a fit it was, we had no choice but to post it. This site had utterly no hand in making this, but it's grand. Just grand.