Search Results for ‘antiquities’

FBI raids Indiana antiquities collector

I’ve got a write-up at Cato at Liberty about the federal government’s massive, SWAT-like occupation of the rural Indiana property of Don Miller, a celebrated 91-year-old local collector who has traveled the globe and whose impressive collection of world and Indian artifacts “was featured in a four part series in the Rushville Republican.” Under various treaties and federal laws, mostly dating to relatively recent times, the federal government now deems ownership of many antiquities and Native American artifacts to be unlawful even if collectors acquired them in good faith before laws changed. [WISH (TV), Indianapolis Star, The Blaze.] More: coverage in two more outlets with a flavor very different from each other, Shelby County News (FBI source stresses Miller’s cooperativeness and suggests federal actions were wtih his consent or even at his behest) and National Public Radio (“seized,” “confiscated”)

Related: Richard Epstein at Hoover on Obama Administration plans to prohibit selling your family’s vintage piano or moving it across a state line. And aside from ivory chess sets, the nascent War on Antiques might take a toll of replica firearms [Washington Times]

Antiquities trade

Various nationalist governments and well-intended archaeologists are trying to shut down the worldwide trade in antiquities, but it’s far from clear that declaring governments to be the sole rightful owners of historical relics leads to better conservation or better public understanding of them. As the U.S. government increasingly shows itself willing to enforce foreign states’ claims of ownership in artifacts, collectors in this country are tangled in legal uncertainties and faced with demands that they affirmatively document long-ago provenances, an often impossible task. And some of the “cultural patrimony” subject to demands for repatriation is of distinctly recent vintage: China seeks title to “calligraphy and paintings dating from as recently as 1912”. (Steven Vincent, “Ancient Treasures for Sale”, Reason, Apr.). Inasmuch as governments such as those of China, Cambodia and Afghanistan have themselves been pre-eminent destroyers of their own store of cultural antiquities — the damage done during China’s Cultural Revolution period is incalculable — the dispersal of an ancient culture’s artworks around the world may turn out to be an important safeguard in making sure that in future such episodes at least a portion of the treasure survives the wreck.

Environment roundup

  • “Ninth Circuit Dismisses Kids Climate Case for Lack of Standing” [Jonathan Adler, more; John Schwartz, New York Times; earlier here, here]
  • Administration finishes replacing much-criticized Obama rule on Waters of the United States (WOTUS) [AgInfoNet, WilmerHale, earlier]
  • Prop 65 mini-roundup: the California chemical-disclosure regime “has not been shown to provide benefits that justify its high cost.” [Michael Marlow, Cato Regulation magazine last summer] It has also created a $300 million/year industry that includes not a few shakedown artists [Cameron English, ACSH] Take two Tylenol and label them as hazardous chemicals or else [Masha Abarinova, Reason] Gas utility’s Prop 65 insert warning of exposure to, yes, natural gas [SoCalGas] From Cal Biz Lit, lists of 2019 settlements and consent judgments;
  • Forcing insurers to renew risky policies: “California Politicians Double Down on Encouraging People To Live in Wildfire-Prone Areas” [Christian Britschgi]
  • Exchange on the Price-Anderson Act and the liability regime it creates for nuclear power generation [John Cochrane; Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution] “Germany’s closing of nuclear power stations after Fukushima cost billions of dollars and killed thousands of people due to more air pollution.” [Alex Tabarrok]
  • Two Cato Daily Podcast episodes hosted by Caleb Brown: why scaling back National Environmental Policy Act review of infrastructure projects “won’t have much of an impact on environmental quality.” [Peter Van Doren] Should Presidents wield unilateral power to lock or unlock use of federal land, as is conferred on them under the 1906 Antiquities Act? [Cato Daily Podcast with Caleb Brown and Jonathan Wood]

Land use and environment roundup

Environment roundup

  • Farmers were among leading opponents of 2015 WOTUS (Waters of the United States) rule, and for good reason [Lawrence A. Kogan, WLF, earlier]
  • “The Antiquities Act has become a tool for presidents to secure their legacies with special interests.” [Jonathan Wood/Reason, earlier] “State Officials Urge Local Consultation When Designating National Monuments” [Aileen Yeung, Western Wire, more]
  • West Hollywood imposes onerous exactions if you build multi-unit housing. Takings alert [Ilya Shapiro, David McDonald on Cato certiorari petition in case of 616 Croft Ave., LLC v. City of West Hollywood]
  • Random goofball’s letter to editor calls for violence against oil and gas workers. I wouldn’t mess with oil and gas workers, actually [Western Wire]
  • Vermont Law School, known for environmentalist mission, gets $17 million loan from U.S. Department Of Agriculture [Paul Caron/TaxProf]
  • “Is everything a crime under the Endangered Species Act?” [Jonathan Wood, related on McKittrick policy] “Vigorous Dissent from Fifth Circuit’s Denial of Rehearing Should Help ESA Frog-Habitat Case Leap to Supreme Court” [Samuel Boxerman with Katharine Falahee Newman, WLF]

Environment roundup

  • Finally, some progress? White House releases “Housing Development Toolkit” urging local policymakers to expand by-right development, accessory dwelling units, pro-density rezoning [Jonathan Coppage, Washington Post; Vanessa Brown Calder, Cato]
  • And see related: “Parking Requirements Increase Traffic And Rents. Let’s Abolish Them.” [Brent Gaisford, Market Urbanism] “America’s Ugly Strip Malls Were Caused By Government Regulation” [Scott Beyer]
  • And yet more, stranded in Seattle: “Micro-Housing, Meet Modern Zoning” [Vanessa Brown Calder, Cato]
  • California: “Coastal Commission Abuse Smacked Down by Court” [Steven Greenhut]
  • “If firms refused to take direction, FDR ordered many of them seized.” For climate change advocate Bill McKibben, RICO-for-deniers is only the start [New Republic] Fan at New York Times eyeing McKibben to win Nobel [Timothy Egan]
  • “Midnight Monuments: The Antiquities Act and the Executive Authority to Designate National Monuments” [Federalist Society podcast with Donald Kochan and Charles Wilkinson]

International law roundup

  • Coming up this Friday and Saturday Mar. 27-28 in D.C., Federalist Society holds star-filled conference on Treaties and National Sovereignty at George Washington University [Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz]
  • Trade agreements are being promoted as extending progressive labor and environmental policies around the globe, hmmm [Simon Lester, related] Courts in European nations urged to use Charter to promote affirmative welfare rights, strike down laws liberalizing labor markets [Council of Europe]
  • “Croatian-Serb war offenses litigated under Illinois and Virginia conversion/trespass tort law” [Volokh]
  • “Did the Supreme Court Implicitly Reverse Kiobel’s Corporate Liability Holding?” [Julian Ku]
  • “There Is No National Home for Art” (Kwame Anthony Appiah on cultural patrimony and antiquities repatriation, NYT “Room for Debate”, related Ku on Elgin Marbles; my take on the collectible-coin angle; earlier here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, etc.]
  • British government alleges human rights lawyers continued to pursue claims against British military over Iraq even after evidence of probable falsity emerged [Telegraph]
  • Treaties the Senate has blocked tend to be aspirational fantasies [Ted Bromund]