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Federal Courts

Federal Circuit: AIs Are Inventions, Not Inventors

By Joseph Fawbush, Esq.

Modern AI (artificial intelligence) involves sophisticated algorithms and massive computing power. AI has been used to solve numerous problems, and it seems AI's only limit is human creativity. Despite its successes, however, no AI has reached sentience (or even so-called "strong" AI), despite claims that a Google employee recently made regarding LaMDA. We are a ways away from HAL 9000, but even so, weak AI is powering numerous industries and helping researchers, scientists, and others develop groundbreaking and novel technologies.

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Drug Distributors Win Groundbreaking Opioid Lawsuit in West Virginia

By Laura Temme, Esq.

Huntington and Cabell County alleged that the three distributors failed to maintain controls that would have prevented the oversupply of addictive substances like Oxycodone. At trial, attorneys for McKesson argued that holding the companies liable would "force distributors to second-guess doctors' prescribing decisions."

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Supreme Court Allows Biden Administration to End 'Remain in Mexico' Program

By Laura Temme, Esq.

On its final day of decisions for the 2021-2022 term, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Biden administration could end the Trump-era policy that required asylum seekers to stay on the Mexican side of the southern border while they waited for approval.

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SCOTUS Limits EPA Emission Control Powers

By Richard Dahl

In a decision that could open the door to broader administrative restrictions in other areas, the U.S. Supreme Court limited the Environmental Protection Agency's powers to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants. The 6-3 ruling in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency split firmly across ideological lines. The agency went further than the power Congress granted it in the 1970 Clean Air Act by creating its own regulatory scheme to cap carbon emissions, the court ruled.

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Supreme Court Gives States Expanded Power Over Native Tribes

By Laura Temme, Esq.

Although Governor Stitt assailed the court with numerous petitions challenging McGirt, Castro-Huerta's case was the only one it agreed to take up. And this decision only affects the state's ability to criminally prosecute non-Natives in "Indian country." But, it does signal a major shift in the way the court addresses issues of Native sovereignty.

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A Touchdown for Religious Expression

By Steven Ellison, Esq.

In a win for religious conservatives, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a high-school football coach has a First Amendment right to pray at the 50-yard line following games. The court reversed a lower court's determination that the coach's employer, a public school district, could not permit his prayer because of the very same amendment. The ruling highlights a conflict between First Amendment rights: the right to freely practice and express your religion in public and the right of others to be free from a state-established church. In this case, the court resolved this conflict in favor of an individual's right to religious expression.

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