December 5 roundup

  • “An important win for property owners”: Supreme Court rules 8-0 that protected species habitat doesn’t include tracts containing no actual dusty gopher frogs and not inhabitable by them absent modification [Roger Pilon, George Will, earlier on Weyerhaeuser v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Cato Daily Podcast with Holly Fretwell and Caleb Brown (“The Frog Never Had a Chance”)]
  • Proposed revision of federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) would expand definition of domestic violence to include nonviolent “verbal, emotional, economic, or technological” abuse. Vagueness only the start of the problems here [Wendy McElroy, The Hill]
  • Bad ideas endorsed by the American Bar Association, part 3,972: laws requiring landlords to take Section 8 tenants [ABA Journal; earlier on “source of income discrimination” laws]
  • Minneapolis “Healthy Foods Ordinance” drives up costs for convenience stores, worsens food waste, pressures ethnic grocers into Anglo formats [Christian Britschgi]
  • New York Attorney General-elect Letitia (Tish) James has been zealous about suit-filing in recent years, quality another matter [Scott Greenfield]
  • “Plaintiff wins $1,000 in statutory damages for technical violation of Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. (Debt collector illegally used the words ‘credit bureau’ in its business name.) After plaintiff’s lawyers seek $130k in fees, district court awards them the princely sum of $0. Fifth Circuit: Just so. While fees are ordinarily mandatory, ‘special circumstances’ obtain here: The record suggests that the plaintiff colluded with her lawyers to generate this ‘outrageous’ fee-heavy lawsuit in Texas instead of in her home state of Louisiana.” [John Kenneth Ross, IJ “Short Circuit” on Davis v. Credit Bureau of the South]


  • Re: frog case.

    Why didn’t they just take the property via eminent domain and create the habitat that they wanted?

    If the frog were really the important thing, that’s what would have been done.

    • Because then they would have to pay compensation for the taking. The whole point of these laws is to hide the cost of the measures, firstly by moving them off the government books and onto the private sector, and secondly by moving them from “seen” (direct expenditure) to “unseen” (loss of future development).

      There is no public apetite to spend tens or hundreds of millions protecting this frog, and if the feds had to justify it on that basis they would fail. But if protecting it “seems” free, then let’s go ahead.

      • But in this case, there was nothing for the frog since the habitat wasn’t hospitable for the frog.

        Makes me wonder if competence is also an issue.

        • If the government had won this case, they would have forced the land owners to modify the land to make it habitable for the frogs at the land-owner’s own expense.

  • “Why didn’t they just take the property via eminent domain and create the habitat that they wanted?”

    Because If they resorted to eminent domain, they would have to compensate the owner for the land + cover the cost of restoring the land to viable frog habitat out of their own budget.

    This way, they not only avoid having to pay for the land, they also force the private land owners to eat the cost of restoring the habitat so nothing hits their budget.

  • Re: AG James. Taking as a given that she is a vexatious litigant and has filed abusive lawsuits, where is the NY Court of Appeals? Some lawyers are getting punished for those sorts of activities. But connected lawyers get to act this way? That’s a problem.

  • re VAWA: The proposed revisions further the feminist attempt to criminalize imperfect behaviors. They want onerous punishment for the ordinary uncomfortable aspects of life. On campus, if the boy doesn’t call the next day, that is sexual assault. If the sex isn’t good, assault. To criminalize shouting or manipulation, or threats would, if applied evenly, sweep up more women than men because this is how they fight. Even the actual assault aspects of the current law do not count physical assault by women because it is presumed that the man can withstand her hits. If there are any couples out there where they never manipulate, lie, threaten, or insult, then it isn’t a very passionate marriage or they are both zombies.
    The “healthy food” ordinance is based on both a lie and a conceit. The lie is “food deserts” which have been shown to not exist. One way they created the food desert statistic was to ignore stores that sell food but are not groceries (walmart, target) as well as ethnic stores. An ethnic store has the purpose of supplying the foods that only ethnic people want. I have been in Indian, Arab, Persian, Hispanic stores and they are specialized. No one who goes there thinks they can find all their shopping. So the conceit is that busy-bodies have to save people from their decisions, when there are no failed decisions going on in the first place.

    • “If there are any couples out there where they never manipulate, lie, threaten, or insult, then it isn’t a very passionate marriage or they are both zombies.”
      So a relationship based on disrespect and/or abuse is the only kind that satisfies you?
      How about a relationship based on interdependence, honesty, humor, intellectual/social/spiritual stimulation, and, yes, passion?
      Maybe you’re doing it wrong.

      • I think the key word there is “never.” What I understand cc as saying is, “If two humans live together for decades, at some point each of them will manipulate, lie, threaten, or insult.” I’m sure all of us – cc included – agree that a relationship “based on” something else is better. But saying something is “based on” certain attributes says almost nothing about whether that relationship will “never” include other attributes.