June 16 roundup

  • Shameless: House leadership exempts NRA lest it sink bill to regulate political speech [John Samples, Cato]
  • Employment law: “Arbitration Showdown Looms Between Congress, Supreme Court” [Coyle, NLJ]
  • “Wake Up, Fellow Law Professors, to the Casualties of Our Enterprise” [Tamanaha, Balkinization]
  • Move to allow international war crimes trials over “aggression,” a notoriously slippery term [Anderson, Brett Schaefer/NRO “Corner” via Ku]
  • Litigation slush funds: “Cy pres bill in Ohio House” [Ted Frank, CCAF]
  • “Recent Michigan Prosecutions for ‘Seducing an Unmarried Woman’” [Volokh]
  • Scalia: “…least analytically rigorous and hence most subjective of law-school subjects, legal ethics” [LEF]
  • Silicosis settlement scandal update: “As 2 Insurance Execs Admit Bribes, PI Lawyer Says He Can’t Be Retried” [Houston Chronicle via ABA Journal, earlier]


  • The hilarious thing about the NRA exemption is it probably makes the law unconstitutional. you can’t carve out exceptions like that in speech codes.

    i wonder if the NRA knew that when they demanded it. it would be giving them perhaps too much credit to think that they intended to screw congress, but that is the very likely unintended effect.

  • Re: Employment Law:

    Reading what the opponents of arbitration continue to say, one would get the impression that businesses have carte blanche to run over consumers with unfair, overreaching arbitration provisions. This is simply not true. If a consumer is being taken advantage of by a business or company, courts already have the tools available to remedy the situation. Patently unfair arbitration provisions, by law, should not be enforced under the law as it exists today. Under current law in Texas:
    • Unconscionable arbitration agreements are not enforceable;
    • Arbitration agreements in transactions involving individuals acquiring property, services, money or credit in an amount of $50,000 or less must be signed by each party and each party’s attorney; and
    • Arbitration agreements relating to personal injury claims must be signed by each party and each party’s attorney regardless of the amount of the claim.

    With a fair, balanced, and not forced on someone without informed consent arbitration agreement it reasonably allows Texans the option to agree to arbitrate. Texas law as it stands today provides these protections and strikes a fair balance between the freedom to contract and the abuse of that freedom by opportunistic merchants. We need to keep our fair, balanced and sensible civil justice system as it relates to arbitration agreements.

    Arbitration benefits both consumers and employers and is an important and fair alternative to costly litigation and lawyer fees.

    A 2008 report on arbitration from the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform found:
    • Consumers won their cases slightly more than 70 percent of the time when they chose arbitration.
    • The average time from filing to disposition of a case taken to arbitration was approximately 100 days (litigation took 3 to 4 times longer).
    • Consumers win more often with arbitration than in litigation.
    • Arbitrated disputes cost less than litigation.

    Arbitration works. Consumers benefit as do employers.

    Arbitration is an important option for resolving disputes without costly and lengthy litigation. It could be undermined by a Supreme Court ruling if we don’t make our voices heard.