Shutdowns are for the little people.Credit: Collection of the Supreme Court of the United StatesGovernment shutdowns apparently also don’t cover the Supreme Court. They returned from recess today and granted review of eight new cases. The indispensable SCOTUSblog has info on each of the cases, several of which are about intellectual property rules. There are two other cases under review that are of particular interest.

Navarette v. California (pdf) is a Fourth Amendment case where a truck was stopped based on an anonymous tip that it had been driving recklessly (and ran the tipster off the road). A search of the truck uncovered four bags of marijuana.

Two questions were asked of the court: “Does the Fourth Amendment require an officer who receives an anonymous tip regarding a drunken or reckless driver to corroborate dangerous driving before stopping the vehicle?”; and “Does an anonymous tip that a specific vehicle ran someone off the road provide reasonable suspicion to stop a vehicle, where the detaining officer was only advised to be on the lookout for a reckless driver, and the officer could not corroborate dangerous driving despite following the suspect for several miles?” The court decided it will examine only the first question.

The second case, Harris v. Quinn (pdf), will be watched heavily be libertarians and unions alike. The case examines whether home health care workers can be required to accept and pay for a union to represent them in negotiations with the state over state reimbursements. This has been a push over the past few years by unions to bolster their numbers in several states (Illinois being the origin of this challenge). The Cato Institute (and others) have filed briefs with the court arguing that such forced membership violates the First Amendment rights of workers to freely choose their associations and petition the government for redress of grievances. Read more here.