Brett Stuff
Judging the Judges
Term Year: 2018

Return Mail, Inc., Petitioner v. United States Postal Service, et al.

Summary Analysis

DATE: 2019-06-10
DOCKET: 17-1594
NAME: Return Mail, Inc., Petitioner v. United States Postal Service, et al.

   AUTHOR: Sotomayor
   JOINING: Roberts, Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh
   GOOD: No

OPINION: Dissenting
   AUTHOR: Breyer
   JOINING: Ginsburg, Kagan
   GOOD: Yes

Case Commentary

Per the Dictionary Act (1945), Corporations have been defined as Persons, but the Government has not.


A Patent's Term is 20 years. I thought it was 17.

I disagree with the conception of Patents... and all other forms of Intellectual Property... if not all forms of property.

As the Supreme Court says (internal punctuation massaged as I feel appropriate):
The Constitution empowers Congress to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive right to their respective... Discoveries.
I do not believe 'Discovery' is the right word. While it is true that some people (or some organizations of people) are at the Spearhead of Human Progress, it is Human Progress and would not be possible without a Society of Human Beings backing up those lucky enough to work at the tip.

The front material out of the way, to my non-lawyerly eye (so please, insert your preferred disclaimer at this juncture, which indicates my total and utter lack of subject matter expertise) this case revolves around the question of whether the Government is a Person within the context of a very narrow band of activities.

I would say that the Government is a Person, as would three of the Justices. Six Justices, on the other hand, disagree, which is enough to carry the day. They are wrong. But then, what do you expect out of folks trained in The Law.

In support of its position that the Government is a Person (in regards to Patent Law, at least), the Dissent lists situation after situation (on the final page of the Dissent) in which the Government is treated as a Person in regards to Patent Law.

The Dissent makes the better argument.

And as it so happens, the Dissent is right.

In other news, Sotomayor wrote the Opinion of the Court. I have noted an idiotic tendency of female writers (of which Sotomayor is one, so am I being redundant) to disregard convention and replace he with she.

Two wrongs do not make a right.

If using he as a universal pronoun was wrong, so is using she.

Thus, I propose a much more nuanced solution to the problem. Sure, one could always use one, they, them, or some other neutral identifier. It comes rapidly to mind. But that's no fun.

So, I propose using she whenever the actor is being an idiot (or otherwise behaving like a woman) and he whenever the actor is being reasonable (or otherwise behaving like a man).
She wrote a long winded Opinion.
His Dissent was much more succinct.

She was wrong.
He was right.
Obviously, I will have to work out a few kinks (clearly, a female gendered statement). But I think the convention has potential (a statement which should clearly be denoted as male gendered).

Judging the Judges

Next Entry


Of course, the real question is (and this is, no doubt, the real reason why The Court decided the way they did, not wanting to tackle this very difficult sociological question) if The Government is a Person, is the appropriate pronoun She (to honour The Government's screwy legal system) or He (to honour The Government's military might)?

© copyright 2019 Brett Paufler
A Personal Opinion/Editorial