Supreme Court Doesn't Need Spider-Man Reboot

A 1960s patent law works just fine today, justices say.

Hands up.

Photographer: Bill Kalis/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

The Spider-Man franchise has been rebooted many times since Stan Lee and Steve Ditko invented the superhero in 1962. But the Spider-Man tradition reached a new peak Monday when the web-spinner became the centerpiece of a U.S. Supreme Court decision about, of all things, tradition, specifically the use of precedent in the court's opinions. Justice Elena Kagan, writing for a 6-3 majority, sprinkled in clever Spider-Man references, enhancing her reputation as the funniest justice in writing. But the subject of precedent is in fact as serious as a radioactive spider bite -- and just as basic to the Supreme Court’s foundation myth as Peter Parker’s bite is to Spider-Man’s.

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