Posts Tagged ‘Richard Epstein’

Richard Epstein on antidiscrimination laws and common carriers

Libertarian legal scholar Richard Epstein discusses the conflict over religious exemptions to antidiscrimination laws at Hoover “Defining Ideas” and in a related podcast at Acton Institute. He suggests that it might be helpful to refocus the concept of “public accommodations” on businesses held to common carrier principles, typically because of elements of monopoly:

Historically, Title II [of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, with public accommodation provisions] had two potent justifications. The first is that it was a necessary corrective against massive abuses of state power under Jim Crow. Thankfully, that risk is gone today. The other justification was that the traditional common law view — still good today — that any common carrier or public utility, by virtue of holding a monopoly position, was duty-bound to take all customers on reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms. When ordinary people have nowhere else to go for power, water, or transportation, they are entitled to get these services at reasonable rates. The rule covered all cases of racial discrimination, but it was not limited to it.

The implicit drawback of this position was that there was no duty to serve anyone in a competitive industry, precisely because disappointed customers had a full range of alternatives to which they could turn. The common law rightly held that refusals to deal in competitive industries counted as basic liberties.

Labor roundup

  • Feared Philadelphia union boss launches program to use drones to surveill non-union worksites [William Bender, Philly.com (“got into a fistfight with a nonunion electrical contractor – and broke his nose – at a construction site at Third and Reed.”)]
  • “We know where you live” continued: U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez’s “persuader rule” exposes lawyers and other professionals to intimidation, creates legal minefield for employers expressing opinion [The Hill, Jon Hyman, earlier]
  • Richard Epstein on labor unions [Libertarianism.org podcast discussion with Aaron Ross Powell and Trevor Burrus]
  • Actions protected as “concerted” by labor law include some taken by individual employee entirely alone, according to National Labor Relations Board, as it declares unlawful company policy against secretly taping conversations at the workplace [Jon Hyman, Whole Foods case]
  • “Brace for more litigation based on feds’ new joint employment guidance, labor lawyers tell companies” [ABA Journal; Insurance Journal on Browning-Ferris; Daniel Schwartz; earlier] Applying NLRB joint employer notion to company like McDonald’s could blow up franchise business model, which some union advocates might not mind [Diana Furchtgott-Roth]
  • Judge Merrick Garland shows great deference to NLRB, except in cases where it has ruled for an employer [Bill McMorris, Free Beacon]

Richard Epstein: “The Myth of a Pro-Business SCOTUS”

Left-leaning lawprofs like Erwin Chemerinsky and Arthur Miller regularly flog the idea that decisions they disagree with — such as Twombly and Iqbal on pleading, AT&T v. Concepcion and AmEx v. Italian Colors on arbitration, and Vance v. Ball State and Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire on workplace liability — show the Supreme Court to be biased in favor of business defendants. Richard Epstein rebuts.

Law schools roundup

  • Law-school leftism is no longer a progressive force, argues Brian Tamanaha [Stanford Law and Policy Review, more] Paul Campos responds to critics of Tamanaha [UCLA Law Review via Caron]
  • Related: “Cleaning (one’s inbox) is its own reward: nice podcast re: law school reform that I took to gym (via @WalterOlson)” [@DavidLat]
  • Good news for law students? “Student Loans May Now Be Discharged More Easily In Bankruptcy in the 9th Circuit” [Karen Oakes, Bankruptcy Law Network] “Only if the law students don’t want to become lawyers.” [@moiracathleen]
  • No love lost: Mark Tushnet vs. Richard Epstein on Epstein’s new book Design for Liberty (PDFs)
  • “People’s Electric Law School”: George Conk recalls Rutgers-Newark’s salad days as a committed-Left law school at a state university [Fordham Urban Law Journal via Steele] Thoughts from Elizabeth Warren ’76 [Rutgers via @LegInsurrection]
  • “Assignment: defend the opponent’s viewpoint….” A dying art in the ideologized law school? [John Steele, Legal Ethics Forum]
  • John Murtagh hasn’t forgotten what Columbia prof/NYU “scholar in residence” Kathy Boudin did [NY Post]

Two makes a trend: Reddit “Ask Me Anythings”

Two personalities often linked in this space, Prof. Richard Epstein and Popehat’s Ken White, were both on Reddit yesterday doing an interactive feature called “Ask Me Anything.” Epstein’s is here, and White’s is here.

More: Epstein in response to a question on originalism: “The style of interpretation used by the founders was much more sophisticated than the attention to text. Implied limitations on government, as through the police power, were part of the picture, as were implied protections of the government, as with sovereign immunity. My new book out later this year, The Classical Liberal Constitution, addresses these issues.”

In response to a question about his rule-utilitarian rationale for libertarian principles: “My view is that the deontological explanations tend to fail because they cannot account for such common practices at Intellectual Property, taxation or eminent domain. The theory has no way to deal with forced exchanges, which is what taxation and eminent domain are about.”

On libertarianism and pollution: “externality control is an essential party of the overall libertarian theory, and that means control of nuisances. … It is a case where it is easier to mischaracterize a system than to understand it. Nuisance law has many distinctive remedial features and at times requires collective enforcement of the basic norm against invasion. But there is nothing about the theory which says that the way to make people happy and prosperous is to choke them.”

Also: why the movie Body Heat got the Rule Against Perpetuities wrong, and why he’s not a fan of the German way to organize legal academia.

And Ken White answers questions about when to talk to the police; pro bono cases he’s proud of having helped on; what to say to someone who wound up going to law school in part because of his blog; how having his identity “outed” affected his law practice; and three kinds of crazy case that result in Popehat posts.

May 31 roundup

Product liability as model for consumer finance regulation?

Let’s hope it doesn’t unfold that way, says Richard Epstein [Truth on the Market]

P.S. It looks as if from Congress will accord lawyers and some other professionals an exemption from Federal Trade Commission regulations on identity theft that would have lumped them in with more traditional lenders because they often do not bill clients at the time work is performed. Fair enough, one supposes, but also another indication of the truism that one’s success in dodging nonsensical regulation is often a function of one’s status as a potent lobby in Washington.

November 26 roundup

  • Reason TV interviews Richard Epstein;
  • On the SEC’s big new “insider trading” sweep [Ribstein, Bainbridge, Lambert, Salmon, more Ribstein]
  • Losing = winning? Ambitious claim for fees in environmental case [California Civil Justice, scroll]
  • “Unintended consequences department: canceled flights” [Ted at PoL] And check out Ted’s new TSA Abuse Blog, on one of the hottest issues of the moment. More on that from Popehat and Simple Justice;
  • H.R. 1408, the Inclusive Home Design Act, would compel handicap accessibility in private home design, yet another dreadful idea from Rep. Jan Schakowsky of CPSIA fame [AmendTheCPSIA]
  • “This place would be a shoplifter’s paradise (and a liability insurance abuser’s motherlode) in the United States, but we were in Japan, where they don’t seem to worry as much about that kind of thing.” [Mark Frauenfelder, BoingBoing, on the Showa Kan museum of everyday midcentury life in Takayama]
  • UK: “I moved out for decorators and squatters took over my house” [Evening Standard]
  • From the ruins of Pompeii, a reflection on government and disaster relief [Dum Spiro Spero]