Explain the process of choosing a Supreme Court justice? Do you think this process is political or not? Explain.
The process of choosing the Supreme courts justice is a long one. There are many stages in this process. The process starts when a vacancy arises in the Supreme courts, chief justice post (Choosing a Supreme court Justice). The White House Counsel’s Office has a list of potential candidates even before vacancy arises. Once vacancy arises, the counsel makes a deep research on the best candidate. However, it is the President who has the power to nominate the candidate.
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The President, after selection, sends the nomination in writing to the Senate for consideration, where Senate leaders are informed by the White House about which candidate is being nominated. After this, the Senate Judiciary Committee, in a public hearing discusses the nomination and everyone is allowed to give his/her view (Choosing a Supreme court Justice).
Now the nominee is assigned a Senate sponsor, whose job is to help the nominee, prepare for the questioning he shall face from the Senate Judiciary Committee. Once this is done, the nominee appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and they ask the nominee a number of legal questions and his views on it. Coming prepared will help the nominee as he will be able to answer questions with confidence.
Another step in this process is performed by the American Bar Association (ABA). This step is not mandatory. The ABA has a special panel which gives the nominees ratings. They submit these to the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Justice Department. This is just to give an idea about the competence of the nominees to the appointing authority. It is not binding on the Judiciary Committee to give consideration or weight to the evaluation of the ABA. Besides this, other outside interest groups are also invited during the confirmation process to give their views and opinions etc (Choosing a Supreme court Justice).
Finally, now that the hearings are complete, the Judiciary Committee votes on the nominee. Then the nomination is sent to the senate for a full vote. However, before voting can begin it is mandatory according to the Senate laws, that any debate on any topic, up for vote must first be completed. This is where opponents can stall the voting by extending the debate. This is known as a filibuster.
However, if opponents use the filibuster, there is a counter measure for it as well. A move known as the cloture can be used to end the debate and start voting. But again there would be a problem. To enforce a cloture requires tree-fifth majority. Getting a three-fifth majority is not always easy, because that means certain number of opponents must vote for the ruling party, which is almost impossible. Hence mostly a mutually acceptable nominee is nominated.
Finally the Senate votes, and the nominee is confirmed only, if the nominee gets a majority of votes in the senate (i.e. a simple majority). If the nominee gets the required number of votes, the new justice is sworn in at the Supreme Court building by the chief justice.
Discuss the characteristics of each of the following:
When a person invents something, he can get a patent for it. A patent gives the inventor an exclusive right on a special knowledge (WIPO). There are many people who have registered patents, regarding any of their inventions etc. This can be seen be seen b the fact that, nearly half a million patents are granted every year (WIPO).
Patent documents have certain characteristics. Firstly, patent documents have a uniform structure. Patent documents usually have a claim to a certain invention. As proof, patent documents usually contain diagrams of the inventions. They also have research documents and other search proofs (WIPO).
Abstract indicate to the user if the document contains what he wants. Mostly, users have to buy the whole document to read it. Patent documents contain the date of registration of the patent and up to when it is registered. Until the date, readers can’t read it without permission of the patent holder.
- b) Copyright:
Copyright is a property right which grants the creator of a work a limited number of exclusive rights in relation to their work (International Publishers Association). When an author gets a copyright, it means others cannot copy, publish or sell his work without his/her permission. If they do so it would be illegal and punishable.
Copyrights have their own characteristics. Firstly copyrights have a certain term. Usually copyrights remain with the author for 50 years after his death.
Copyrights are like property. Their other characteristic are that, copyrights can be assigned, inherited or transferred to another person (International Publishers Association). Copyrights can also be sold by the owners for financial gains.
- c) Trade secret:
Just like copyrights and patents, trade secrets are a form of property that can be protected by law ( Hutchison and Mason PLLC ). One of the characteristic of trade secrets is that they are protected under State law.
Things that can be protect as a trade secret include formulas, patterns, programs, devices, techniques or processes etc. Another characteristic of trade secrets is that employees/people who are told the information must be informed that they have an obligation to keep the information confidential. Under no circumstances can they divulge this information.
Besides this another characteristic of trade secrets is that they can be sold by the owner of the trade secret (Santa Clara University School of Law High Tech Law Institute). The owner can also lease the secret. However, he has the right to impose any restrictions on its extent of use.
- d) Trademarks:
A trademark can be defined as a word, symbol, logo or design which distinguishes the goods of one party from another (Ius Mentis).
Trademarks have many different characteristics. Trademarks may include words, graphical signs, shapes and even sounds. The most important characteristic of trademarks is that they are distinctive (i.e. they must be one of a kind).
Another characteristic of trademarks is that they have varying degrees of distinctiveness. Trademarks give the holder the exclusive right to use the mark and no one else can use it otherwise the holder can take legal action against the user.
6) What does the United Nations Bio safety Protocol for Genetically Altered Foods provide? Do you think this protocol is necessary?
Since a few decades it has been seen that there has been a steady rise in production of genetically altered food. Genetically altered foods are defined as meat and edible plants modified through genetic engineering (GE) (Business Dictionary).
As the use and trade of genetically altered foods increased, so did the concern related to these foods. This is where the United Nations Bio safety Protocol for genetically altered food came in. The protocol is known as the Cartagena Protocol on Bio safety (Green peace International). This protocol provides for the regulation of international trade along with handling and use of genetically altered food and organisms, which may pose a risk to human health safety.
According to this protocol, countries who are signatories to this protocol countries have full right to ban any foods and organism which have been genetically altered, if there is no scientific knowledge regarding its safety.
This bio safety protocol also says that the countries must agree in advance regarding, which genetically engineered crops can be imported. In other words it is necessary to obtain the importing countries consent (Green peace International).
Similarly, the protocol also says that, in case of shipment of genetically modified foods, which are intended for use as food stuff, must be accompanied by documents, which say that, these are GMO’s and that they conform to the requirements of the Bio safety protocol and are not to be introduced to the environment.
Likewise, the protocol also requires that any company, country etc which is exporting genetically modified food for direct use shall inform the world community about their decision to export this genetically modified food stuff.
When GMO’s intended for food uses are to be exported, the exporting country after giving permission is required under the protocol to inform the Bio safety Clearing-House about it. However, it is up to the importing country to find out about its safety. For this purpose they can contact the Bio safety Clearing-House.
Lastly, under this bio safety protocol the government of the countries are required to consult the public in all decision making regarding GMO’S. Furthermore they are also required to provide all information to the public regarding the genetically modified food that is to be imported. Lastly the governments have to publicize all decisions made (Green peace International).
I believe it is important to have this protocol. The reason is that, in these times of cut-throat competition companies are ready to go to any extent to earn a profit. Therefore there must be some check and balance to ensure that companies in their bid to earn do not play with the health of human beings and the environment.
"Biosafety protocol." Green peace International website. 22 May 2010 <http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/agriculture/solution-ecological-farming/biosafety-protocol/>.
"Choosing a Supreme court Justice." ex website. 22 May 2010 <http://www.ezwebsite.org/Photos/files714/flowchart.CHOOSING%20A%20SUPREME%20COURT%20JUSTICE.doc>.
Green peace International. "Bio safety protocol -general backgrounder." Green peace International website. 22 May 2010 <http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/agriculture/solution-ecological-farming/biosafety-protocol/>.
Hutchison and Mason PLLC . " trade secrets ." Triangle TechJournal. (2002). Business Dictionary. "genetically modified (GM) food." Business Dictionary website. 22 May 2010 <http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/genetically-modified-GM-food.html>.
International Publishers Association. "About Copyright ." International Publishers Association website. 22 May 2010 <http://www.internationalpublishers.org/index.php/copyright-main/about-copyright/copyright-basics>.
Ius Mentis. "Crash course on trademarks: What are trademarks." Ius Mentis website. 22 May 2010 <http://www.iusmentis.com/trademarks/crashcourse/whatis/>.
Santa Clara University School of Law High Tech Law Institute. "Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers) about Trade Secret ." Chilling effects website. 22 May 2010 <http://www.chillingeffects.org/tradesecret/faq.cgi>.
WIPO. "Patent Information in Brief." World Intellectuall Property Organization website. 22 May 2010 <http://www.wipo.int/patentscope/en/data/patent_information.html#P40_4365>.
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