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by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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Does whatever a Justice can

Spider-Man is my favorite superhero. Anyone who read my story about ComiXology yesterday may have noticed the eight covers at the top of the page, six of which included the word “spider.”

So how could I let the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Kimble v. Marvel Entertainment pass without comment? In yesterday’s ruling, Justice Elena Kagan—a comic-book fan who says “Avengers” is her favorite movie—peppered her opinion with references to comic-books in general and Spider-Man in particular.

From the ruling itself:

What we can decide, we can undecide. But stare decisis teaches that we should exercise that authority sparingly. Cf. S. Lee and S. Ditko, Amazing Fantasy No. 15: “Spider-Man,” p. 13 (1962) (“[I]n this world, with great power there must also come—great responsibility”). Finding many reasons for staying the stare decisis course and no “special justification” for departing from it, we decline Kimble’s invitation to overrule Brulotte.

It’s the first time I’ve seen the wisdom of Ben Parker used to describe the legal principle of preferring to follow previous judicial decisions, but I’ll take it.