- New, much-anticipated documentary Can We Take a Joke? When Outrage and Comedy Collide [on demand, Greg Lukianoff] More on the fining of comedian Mike Ward by the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal [Guardian, earlier]
- “It is not ‘freedom of the press’ when newspapers and others are allowed to say and write whatever they want even if it is completely false!” [@donaldjtrump Sunday on Twitter] 25 years ago in my stump speech on lawsuit reform I criticized Trump for his use of legal threats to silence critics. More reportage on that history, a familiar topic around here [Frances S. Sellers, Washington Post, earlier here, etc.]
- Eighth Circuit: Nebraska regulators improperly retaliated against financial adviser over (inter alia) his criticism of Obama [Eugene Volokh]
- Nine senators (Boxer, Durbin, Franken, Markey, Reid, Sanders, Schumer, Warren, Whitehouse): we demand 22 right-of-center think tanks open their donation records to us [Carolina Journal]
- “Copyright infringer issues bogus DMCA over someone calling him out. Then denies all of it” [Mike Masnick, TechDirt]
- Lawsuit demanding R ratings on films with “tobacco imagery” deserves to be hit with SLAPP sanctions; “suing the MPAA to force censorship raises the stakes.” [WSJ Law Blog, Scott Greenfield]
Over the years about thirty friends and acquaintances have contributed their talents as guestbloggers at Overlawyered, typically posting over the span of a week while I’m away from my duties. I’d like to use this week to tell what some of them are doing now, highlight a few of their contributions, and I hope at least mention the names and link the author archives of all of them.
Ron Coleman, an IP and media law attorney attorney in greater New York, writes the excellent and longstanding Likelihood of Confusion blog on trademarks, copyrights, Internet law and free speech, from which I’ve learned a lot over the years. He’s guestblogged for us twice, covering such issues as a New York male attorney’s discrimination suit against ladies’ night discounts at bars; a suit in Romania by a prison inmate purportedly against God Himself (“He has some issues, only not justiciable ones, it seems”); and a lawsuit by NBA players over depictions of their lady interests on a VH1 show called “Basketball Wives.” His full archive is here (law-oriented and personal Twitter).
When he guestblogged for us, Will Baude was a student at the University of Chicago Law School. He’s now on its faculty, teaching federal courts and constitutional law, after doing things like clerking for appellate judge Michael McConnell and Chief Justice John Roberts. Last week he was a guestblogger at Volokh Conspiracy about his work on the law of interpretation, statutory and otherwise; sample posts here and here. During his guest week at Overlawyered he covered a dispute over whether a California city should sue over a reference to its citizens as “white trash” on a popular TV show, “The O.C.”, and wrote on popular schemes (popular in philosophical circles, at least) “to extend the right to vote to children of any age.” Full archive here (Twitter).
Pasadena attorney George M. Wallace wrote the excellent insurance law blog Declarations and Exclusions through 2013, and continues to blog on non-legal subjects at A Fool in the Forest. In his time with us he covered an advisory in the L.A. city attorney’s office on “how they should recognize a newsworthy legal case. Public safety? Important public issue at stake? Nah, this is L.A. Number one is any case involving a celebrity — ‘no matter how minor’ — followed closely by a politician. Death, mutilation, child molestation or animal cruelty are also sure bets.” And he wrote — this nearly ten years ago — about the legal showdown between TV personality Rosie O’Donnell and Donald Trump. Full archive here (Twitter).
Because I’m expecting some down time in my own blogging in coming months, I invite volunteers (and of course repeat volunteers) who might like to guestblog in this space this summer and fall. Email editor – (at) – overlawyered – (dot) – com.
Sorry, Justice Ginsburg, but those comments about a candidate whose legal interests might well come before the Court this year were waaaay over the line [Dan Drezner; Bloomberg View editorial; Orin Kerr (“cringe-inducing”)] “In the unlikely (and horrifying) event of Bush-v.-Gore-like election litigation, I do not see how Justice Ginsburg could refuse to recuse after these sorts of comments.” [Jonathan Adler, more (the Justice deserves commendation for ensuring that the Court will consist of only 7 non-recused Justices, the better to speak with a clear majority voice, in case Donald Trump figures in a disputed election)] Yet more: Bob Fredericks, New York Post (thanks for quote). Some contrary views: Profs. Erwin Chemerinsky and Paul Butler, quoted in the ABA Journal; but note this from Prof. Jeff Pojanowski re: Prof. Chemerinsky’s views in 2014 (link fixed now).
More, Steve Lubet: “Political neutrality is not a facade, it’s an aspiration. When a justice begins campaigning for or against a candidate, however, it means that she has stopped trying. And that is what is wrong with Justice Ginsburg’s recent remarks.”
Update: “On reflection, my recent remarks in response to press inquiries were ill-advised and I regret making them. Judges should avoid commenting on a candidate for public office. In the future I will be more circumspect.” [Washington Post]
- Vice presidential candidate Bill Weld, at Libertarian ticket town hall with Gary Johnson: trade war that followed Smoot-Hawley tariff “croaked the world economy.” Points for using “croaked” in a policy debate [CNN transcript]
- Litigator in chief? USA Today deep dive on Donald Trump’s lawsuit involvements including non-payment and tax categories [earlier]
- Lawyers and law firms had given 350 times more to pro-Clinton than pro-Trump efforts as of late May [American Lawyer, graphic] Should a lawyer work for Trump? [Josh Blackman]
- Be warned. “If Congress refuses to act, Hillary will take administrative action” against guns, her campaign vows [J.D. Tuccille]
- Raises interesting constitutional issues whatever one’s views of a #NeverTrump revolt [Washington Examiner]
- Trial lawyer/social conservative slate bid to control Texas GOP goes down in flames. [Texas Tribune, earlier]
Sunday’s post quoted Eugene Volokh to the effect that on current evidence there is no case, not even close, for Judge Gonzalo Curiel to recuse himself in the Trump University litigation. Now Ken White at Popehat has a short explainer of the issues, noting, inter alia, that Trump can’t “earn” recusal by stepping up his attacks on Judge Curiel. Meanwhile, Alison Frankel at Reuters gives two reasons Trump’s lawyers won’t move for recusal. First, they need to worry about their reputation; second, there’s a real possibility they’d face sanctions if they did file such a motion, given precedents such as the Second Circuit’s 1998 opinion in MacDraw Inc v. CIT Group upholding sanctions issued by then-U.S. District Judge Denny Chin against lawyers who had moved for his recusal based on his Asian ancestry.
Meanwhile, a Legal NewsLine reports that Judge Curiel recently turned down a class action settlement over jeans labeling as providing too little relief to consumers as compared with lawyers and cy pres bystanders. Tweets Adam Schulman of the Center for Class Action Fairness: “Trump’s least favorite judge seems good on class actions to me.”
Ira Stoll recalls a verse from Exodus — translated in the New Berkeley Version of the Christian Bible as “Heap no abuse upon judges” — and notes that the temptation to excoriate judges over unwelcome rulings knows no place or era. Ken White at Popehat pens an explainer, “Is there anything unusual about Judge Curiel’s orders in the Trump University case?” Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales kinda-sorta defends the propriety of litigants’ blasting judges, though in a left-handed way (“if I were a litigant who was concerned about the judge’s impartiality, I certainly would not deal with it in a public manner as Trump has, because it demeans the integrity of the judicial office and thus potentially undermines the independence of the judiciary, especially coming from a man who could be president by this time next year.”), drawing a response from Cassandra Robertson via Jonathan Adler. Eugene Volokh examines the no-not-even-close-on-current-evidence case for Curiel’s recusal. Earlier on the controversy here.
Meanwhile, journalists in Detroit have been recalling the story of the flamboyant, litigious, floppy-haired millionaire populist known for his willingness to insult judges and everyone else, who shoved aside the conventional pols to capture a major party nomination. Of course I’m referring to the 1998 run for governor of Michigan of attorney Geoffrey Fieger, a longtime Overlawyered favorite [Deadline Detroit, Zachary Gorchow/Gongwer]
And also relating to this year’s presidential race, I discussed the Libertarians’ ticket of Gary Johnson and Bill Weld and its attractions in an interview with Mona Charen for her Ricochet podcast “Need to Know” with Jay Nordlinger. More here.
Last night, before a convention center filled with his followers in San Diego, presidential candidate Donald Trump chose to launch a lengthy diatribe against the local federal judge hearing the case against his Trump University. Trump said Judge Gonzalo Curiel, of the Southern District of California, should recuse himself, but cited no reasons for why other than that he had been appointed by Obama and had repeatedly ruled against Trump’s lawyers.
In his rambling remarks, Trump also referred to Judge Curiel as “Mexican”: the jurist, previously the chief federal prosecutor for drug cases in southern California, was born in Indiana. Stoking by repetition, as his crowd of thousands booed, Trump called the federal judge “a hater of Donald Trump, a hater. He’s a hater,” and said he should be placed under investigation by the court system. I wonder whether anyone will be shocked if the judge requests personal protection for himself and his family as the trial proceeds.
Obama’s 2010 State of the Union remarks railing at the Justices of the Supreme Court in their presence regarding Citizens United were bad. This is far worse: the case is still in progress, Trump is a party, and the attack is on a single judge who will now find his task of ensuring a fair trial complicated. Trump, who speaks regularly around the country, chose to unleash the diatribe in the locality where the judge and others who will participate in the case, such as jurors, work and live. [More: David Post]
Law professor Josh Blackman, active in the Federalist Society, writes as follows:
His jaw-dropping comments reflect an utter ignorance about what judges do, and amounts to a dangerous attacks on the fairness of our court system. Whatever negligible good will he built up by nominating a list of solid potential nominees to the Supreme Court was squandered with this scurrilous attack. Those who defended his selection process should immediately rebuke him for these baseless insults….
I am speechless. Absolutely, and totally speechless. I was highly critical of President Obama’s attacks on the Court. I cringe to think what will happen when the Supreme Court rules against [Trump].
This might be a good time to catch up, if you haven’t, on the legal saga of Trump University, which I’ve been following for more than a year (when I first looked into it as part of my research into the work of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman). Some coverage: Jillian Kay Melchior/NRO last July, Emma Brown/Washington Post last September, Ian Tuttle/NRO in February, Roger Parloff/Fortune, Joe Mullin and Jonathan Kaminsky/ArsTechnica. In the San Diego proceedings, one law firm ranged against Trump is Robbins Geller, descendant of convicted class-actioneer Bill Lerach’s Lerach Coughlin, and the subject of some less than flattering coverage in these columns over the years.
- Tonight in New York City, Cato presents its Milton Friedman Award to Danish journalist Flemming Rose, a key figure in the [still-ongoing] Mohammed cartoons episode, and author of The Tyranny of Silence [David Boaz, Cato]
- Troubles in Turkey: journalists sentenced to two years in jail for reprinting Charlie Hebdo cover [Reuters, Reason] Erdogan’s campaign against foreign critics assumes extraterritorial reach with complaints against comedian in Germany and Geneva exhibit [Colin Cortbus/Popehat, Foreign Policy]
- Ya mad wee dafty: “Man faces hate crime charge in Scotland over dog’s ‘Nazi salute'” [Guardian]
- Publish a “wrong” map of India, face seven years in jail and a huge fine [Hindustan Times; “crore” = 10 million]
- United Kingdom man fined £500 for calling romantic rival “fat-bellied codhead. [Blackpool Gazette]
- Emulating USA tycoon D. Trump, China pressures finance analysts against negative forecasts [WSJ, Barron’s on the Marvin Roffman story, which I used to tell when giving speeches on my book The Litigation Explosion]
- Cato files amicus in “hydroponic gear + discarded tea leaves = raid their house” case [Ilya Shapiro and Randal John Meyer, earlier on Harte v. Johnson County, Kansas Commissioners]
- Call off contest for most wrongheaded op-ed about SCOTUS vacancy, clear winner has emerged [Gregory Diskant]
- “If police tell you about a good body shop after an accident, beware this one thing.” [@clickbaitSCOTUS on Ocasio v. U.S.]
- “Maryland Court Suppresses Evidence Gathered By Warrantless Stingray Use” [Tim Cushing, TechDirt]
- Evenwel v. Abbott: “Supreme Court Leaves Meaning of ‘One-Person, One-Vote’ Unclear” [Ilya Shapiro/Cato, earlier]
- Ripeness is all: Thomas/Kennedy dissent in Arrigoni Enterprises v. Town of Durham will excite inverse taking mavens [Gideon Kanner]
- Some reactions to Donald Trump’s release of a list of 11 judges he’d consider for SCOTUS nominations [Ilya Shapiro, Volokh Conspiracy quartet of Eugene Volokh, Jonathan Adler, Orin Kerr, Ilya Somin; Justice Don Willett‘s online humor has not spared Trump]