- “‘Ding Dong Ditch’ Left Shorewood Insurance Agent an Emotional Wreck: Lawsuit” [Joliet, Ill., Patch]
- “Why Lawyers Should Be on Twitter – And Who You Should Be Following” [Kyle White, Abnormal Use]
- “New GMO law makes kosher foods harder to find” [Burlington Free Press, Vermont]
- “The Justice Is Too Damn High! Gawker, The High Cost of Litigation, and The Weapon Shops of Isher” [Jeb Kinnison]
- Wisconsin judge uses guardian ad litem to break up uncontested surrogacy, dissolves both old and new parental rights, now wants Gov. Scott Walker’s nod for state supreme court vacancy [Jay Timmons, Patrick Marley/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel; legal orphanization of kid averted when new judge revoked orders in question]
- Ninth Circuit affirms sanctions against copyright troll crew Prenda Law [Popehat, our coverage]
- Women-only ride-hailing service (“Chariot”) set to launch in Boston. But is it actually legal under prevailing discrimination law? [Story Hinckley, Christian Science Monitor]
- Troll it with flowers: “Intellectual Ventures Hits Florist With Do-It-On-A-Computer Scheduling Patent” [Daniel Nazer, TechDirt]
- Pirate smugglers of Lake Champlain! Hillary Clinton’s tales of Vermont gun-running are silly beyond belief [Michelle Ye Hee Lee, Washington Post “Fact Checker”; Three Pinocchios]
- “Does Anyone Get Arrested For Breaking Those Weird Old Laws? This Man Did” [Mental Floss on Michigan swearing law]
- Harassment in Harrisburg: “Retaliation and Intimidation Persist in AG [Kathleen] Kane’s Office” [Lizzy McLellan and Ben Seal, The Legal Intelligencer, earlier]
- “Congress should privatize the USPS, repeal its legal monopolies, and give the company the flexibility it needs to innovate and reduce costs.” [Chris Edwards, Cato]
Scientists’ “Letter To President Obama: Investigate Deniers Under RICO” is exactly what it sounds like [Greg Laden, ScienceBlogs] We earlier noted, as a step toward attaching legal consequences to unwanted advocacy, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s (D-R.I.) op-ed “urg[ing] the U.S. Department of Justice to consider filing a racketeering suit against the oil and coal industries for having promoted wrongful thinking on climate change, with the activities of ‘conservative policy’ groups an apparent target of the investigation as well,” as well as Gawker’s call to “arrest climate change deniers.”
P.S. For more on the widely publicized book Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, which condemns various scientists said to be too skeptical of the factual basis for regulation, see links gathered by Judith Curry, including this Reiner Grundmann review. Yet more: “I have no idea how it affects the First Amendment” says Vermont scientist who backs probe of wrongful advocacy [Bruce Parker/Watchdog, quotes me]
- Senate Republicans make noises about reining in runaway EEOC [Roger Clegg, Senate minority staff report, Human Resource Executive Online]
- Yes, minimum wage increases hurt many low-skilled workers [NBER via Charles Hughes]
- “Women earn less than men even when they set the pay” [Emma Jacobs, FT, via Tyler Cowen]
- Just a typical fast food worker, except for happening to have a high-powered P.R. firm representing him [Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Economics21]
- Aaargh: “Federal judge wants to bury summary judgment for many reasons, but especially because it harms employment-discrimination plaintiffs” [CL&P]
- “Ideally, someone from Human Resources will join you to meet with the aggrieved employee and inform her that the tree is staying up.” (Well, not up this far into January, but you know.) [Evil Skippy at Work]
- “But”, sic: “Vermont has some of the most progressive wage-and-hour laws in the country, but low-income workers are still struggling.” [Alana Semuels, National Journal]
A question for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.): “Is it your position that market forces are the primary reason that oil and gas prices fall, but speculation and energy market manipulation are the primary reasons that oil and gas prices rise?” [Mark Perry, AEI] But see: Arnold Kling (capitulation by upside speculators could cause price collapses).
Last fall the editors of the Vermont Law Review were kind enough to invite me to participate in a discussion on food and product labeling, part of a day-long conference “The Disclosure Debates” with panels on environmental, financial, and campaign disclosure. Other panelists included Christine DeLorme of the Federal Trade Commission, Division of Advertising Practices; Brian Dunkiel, Dunkiel Saunders; George Kimbrell, Center for Food Safety; and David Zuckerman, Vermont State Senator and Farmer, Full Moon Farm.
Around half the states, including Vermont, ban “happy hour” promotions at drinking establishments. At Watchdog.org, Jon Street quotes me suggesting it’s past time for the Green Mountain State to drop its ban:
Walter Olson, a senior fellow for constitutional studies at The Cato Institute, a libertarian-leaning, Washington, D.C.-based think tank, told Vermont Watchdog, “Why should Vermont insert itself between deals that please restaurants and customers alike?”
“When young people are starting out in the job world, they like moving to the sorts of places where there’s happy hour… It’s good for main streets that don’t want to go dead when the work day ends, good for restaurants trying to reach new customers, and good for tourism. The toll of drunk driving across America has plunged tremendously, both in states that have bans and in those that don’t, and it’s hard to see any difference there,” Olson said.
The happy hour controversy flared up earlier this year in Massachusetts [coverage: MSN, ABC, Consumerist, and Boston Globe (pro-happy-hour column by Farah Stockman)]. Texas alcoholic beverage regulators have a table of state laws here (PDF)
- “California AG files claim against school that hired its own students to boost employment numbers” — not a story about a law school, but it might have been [John Steele]
- Hardly anyone took the constitutional challenge to ObamaCare seriously, at least it seems not at Yale [David Bernstein, Volokh; and speaking of law school ideology my book Schools for Misrule makes a great holiday gift]
- Clinical legal education: “shift from service clinics to impact clinics is partly driven by clinicians’ search for status within the academy” [Margaret Drew and Andrew Morriss, SSRN]
- Shorten law school to two years? [NYT “DealBook” on Obama comments, Jim Dedman, Abnormal Use] “UVM, Vermont Law School consider joint degree” [Burlington Free Press]
- As “Old Media” shrinks, shouldn’t the number of law reviews do so too? [Gerard Magliocca]
- Lighter regulation of UK law schools, and more pathways to practice? [John Flood]
- Cleveland State law profs say “Satanic” $666 pay hike was retaliation for union activities [TaxProf]
That was the title of the talk I gave Friday at a panel on food and product labeling law as part of a stimulating symposium put on by the Vermont Law Review at Vermont Law School in South Royalton, Vt. I drew on a number of different sources, but especially two relatively recent articles: Omri Ben-Shahar and Curt Schneider, “The Failure of Mandated Disclosure,” U. Penn. Law Review (2011), and Kesten C. Green and J. Scott Armstrong, “Evidence on the Effects of Mandatory Disclaimers in Advertising”, Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, Fall 2012. I was able to bring in examples ranging from patent marking law to Prop 65 in California to pharmaceutical patient package inserts, as well as the durable phenomenon of labels, disclosures, and disclaimers going unread even by very sophisticated consumers.
My talk was well received, and I think I might adapt and expand it in future into a full-length speech for audiences on failures of consumer protection law.