Author Archive

J.D. Vance on payday lending

J.D. Vance’s bestselling memoir Hillbilly Elegy, which I read last week and recommend (reviews: Aaron Renn, City Journal; Robert Pondiscio, U.S. News) is not as political a book as the early reviewers made it sound, and Vance takes an unsentimental view of the unlikeliness of political solutions to cure the cultural ills of families and communities he knows from his youth. Here and there he does have a few words to say about laws, though. From Helen Dale’s review in the London Spectator:

He points out – with his poor credit history – that he has had recourse to payday lenders. On one occasion, he avoided a large overdraft fee. Without a payday lender, he’d have been forced to go to a loan shark – which, given the drug culture among poor whites, could have been injurious to his health.

‘The legislators debating the merits of payday lending didn’t mention situations like that,’ he notes. ‘The lesson? Powerful people sometimes do things to help people like me without really understanding people like me’.

Arizona AG, citing “systemic abuse”, asks for dismissal of batch ADA cases

The “Arizona attorney general’s office on Wednesday filed a motion to dismiss more than 1,000 cases focused on business parking lots, brought by a Phoenix lawyer … The lawyer, Peter Strojnik, has filed more than 2,000 disability access cases in less than a year on behalf of Advocates for American Disabled Individuals. The plaintiff reportedly had a standard settlement offer of $7,500” and settled most of its cases for an average of $3,900 a pop, less than the cost of legal defense. The executive director of an organization that “is the federally designated disability protection and advocacy group for Arizona” criticized the AG’s action. [ABA Journal] Meanwhile, the executive director of a disabilities nonprofit represented by attorney Strojnik has resigned. The attorney “is currently under active investigation with the Arizona State Bar Association. Strojnik has been disciplined by the Arizona State Bar Association three times, according to ABC 15 KNXV-TV.” [Phoenix Business Journal, earlier]

Banking and finance roundup

Cato panel on the Games That Must Not Be Named

On Wednesday I took part in a panel discussion on the intellectual property issues associated with media commentary on the Olympics, which enjoy a distinctively favorable IP regime: a 1978 federal law gives the U.S. Olympic Committee stronger rights over the word “Olympics” than it would get under ordinary trademark law, including wider scope to go after parody and other situations that will sometimes arguably be fair use. Other panelists include Cato’s Julian Sanchez and Jim Harper, and the moderator was Cato’s Kat Murti. The audience Q&A included a question from noted media law attorney Paul Alan Levy. You can watch here:

Appeals court quashes search warrant aimed at gadfly Louisiana blogger

Terrebonne Parish Sheriff Jerry Larpenter had obtained a search warrant under Louisiana’s moribund-under-the-circumstances criminal libel law to search the home and computer of a man he suspected of being an anonymous critical blogger, but an appeals court wasn’t having it. Bonus: Larpenter lets loose with rant against Loyola law professor Dane Ciolino, whose work on issues of legal ethics we have had occasion to salute in the past, and who had questioned the legal adequacy of the warrant. [WWL, earlier]

“The Faulty Logic Of The NLRB College Student Unionization Ruling”

Another huge ruling, as NLRB hurtles leftward at topmost speed during these final Obama months [Inside Higher Ed; Connor Wolf, Inside Source; Jarad Lucan via Daniel Schwartz] “Bringing a union into the mix could interfere with the primary purpose of the student’s relationship with the school: education. As dissenting NLRB member Philip Miscimarra writes, employers subject to NLRB jurisdiction may be required to disclose details of sexual harassment investigations to the union. Universities may also be required to tolerate ‘outrageous conduct’ by students, in their roles as unionized employees, which would otherwise violate the schools’ community standards.” [Preston Cooper, Forbes]

P.S.: No, they’re not done: “NLRB Likely To Drop More Pro-Union Rulings By End Of August” [Daniel Fisher]

“A liberal legal icon condemns the IRS’ abuses”

Overlawyered gets a mention today in a New York Post editorial today, but the greater credit should go to Prof. Larry Tribe for his willingness to be swayed by the evidence on the Internal Revenue Service targeting controversy (earlier). In a Cato post largely adapted from previous coverage here, I note in a P.S.: “If word of the D.C. Circuit panel decision has not gotten around as widely as it should, one reason is that some major news organizations have still, nearly three weeks later, not seen fit to cover it.”