- Authorities arrested man who stood in front of courthouse passing out leaflets encouraging jury nullification. Michigan Supreme Court should uphold his First Amendment rights [Clark Neily and Jay Schweikert on Cato Institute brief in Michigan v. Wood, earlier here, here, and here]
- Also on the topic of jury nullification, is that an appropriate metaphor for things happening with the Senate and impeachment? [Jim Galloway, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, quotes me]
- In 2018 an Eleventh Circuit panel green-lighted a suit claiming that it was unconstitutional for Alabama to enact a law pre-empting Birmingham’s local enactment of a higher minimum wage, on the claim that the white-led state lawmaking majority had acted with the purpose and effect of injuring African-Americans, who (it was argued) were more likely to be beneficiaries of the wage mandate. Now the full circuit en banc (over a dissent) has dismissed the case on standing grounds without deciding whether disparate racial impact can taint otherwise neutral laws [Lewis v. Governor of Alabama]
- New California law CCPA, promoted as giving consumers the right to see and delete their data, results in users being required to yield up more data and creates new security risks [Kashmir Hill, New York Times via Gus Hurwitz (“anyone who didn’t see this coming shouldn’t be in the business of writing laws”)]
- Wasatch Brewery’s Polygamy Porter (“take some home to the wives”) is deemed okay by regulators in its own state of Utah, but is too naughty for their counterparts in North Carolina [Hayley Fowler, Charlotte Observer]
- Symposium on “The Politicization of Antitrust” with Luigi Zingales, Alec Stapp, and others [Truth on the Market] And “The Future of Antitrust: New Challenges to the Consumer Welfare Paradigm and Legislative Proposals” with Makam Delrahim, Maureen Ohlhausen and others [Federalist Society National Lawyers Convention]
Details, always with the picky details: in an opinion written by Justice Jay Mitchell, the Supreme Court of Alabama has thrown out as untimely a tort suit filed against Janssen Biotech Inc. claiming injury from the side effects of a medication. [Charmaine Little, Chamber-backed Legal Newsline] Timeliness wasn’t the only problem with the suit, drafted by the complainant’s attorney wife:
Mitchell noted in the ruling that it was “apparent” from a review of the original complaint that it was copied from another complaint.
“The complaint included numerous factual and legal errors, including an assertion that Tim was dead even though he is alive and claims invoking the laws of Indiana even though that state has no apparent connection to this litigation,” Mitchell wrote.
- “Addicted to fines: Small towns in much of the country are dangerously dependent on punitive fines and fees” [Mike Maciag, Governing, a publication that will be much missed]
- “How diversion programs became a cash cow for DAs in Louisiana” [Jessica Pishko, Politico] New Orleans: “Judge steered defendants to campaign contributor’s ankle-monitor company, report says” [ABA Journal]
- Greg and Teresa Almond seizure: “Alabama Cops Raided Their House, Seized Their Cash, and Ruined Their Lives Over $50 of Marijuana” [C.J. Ciaramella, Reason, sequel (more transparency)]
- “Chicago Hiked the Cost of Vehicle City Sticker Violations to Boost Revenue. But It’s Driven More Low-Income, Black Motorists Into Debt.” [Melissa Sanchez, ProPublica, and Elliott Ramos, WBEZ Chicago] Related earlier on impound here, here, etc.
- Are the big bucks where you expected them to be? “Follow the money of mass incarceration” [Prison Policy Initiative]
- “Missouri trial courts send people to jail, charge them room-and-board as ‘court costs,’ then send them back to jail if they can’t pay, yielding — you guessed it — more court costs. Missouri Supreme Court: Cut it out.” [Institute for Justice “Short Circuit” on State v. Richey; Titus Wu, Columbia Missourian]
- My comment on the House-passed H.R. 5: “Proposed Equality Act would 1) massively expand federal liability in areas unrelated to sex, gender, or orientation; 2) turn 1000s of routine customer gripes into federal public-accommodations cases; 3) squeeze conscience exemptions hard. All are good reasons to oppose.” More: Scott Shackford, Elizabeth Nolan Brown, Hans Bader, and earlier here and here;
- America is not in a constitutional crisis: “Politicians have become incentivized to declare constitutional crises because it enhances their own importance as saviors and demonizes their opponents as illegitimate.” [Keith Whittington; Vox mini-symposium with Ilya Somin and others] Mike McConnell vs. Josh Chafetz on whether the current Congressional subpoena fights are really that different from politics of the past [Jonathan Adler] Calm, down-the-middle analysis of the issues raised by the Mueller report [Cato Institute chairman Bob Levy]
- “Mercedes Goes To Court To Get Background Use Of Public Murals In Promotional Pics Deemed Fair Use” [Timothy Geigner]
- Bizarro sovereign-citizen notions are found in the background of more than a few serious financial fraud cases [Ashley Powers, New York Times]
- Divestment and sanctions by state governments aimed at other U.S. states is a bad idea that never seems to go away. Now it’s being floated in Maryland, against Alabama [my Free State Notes post]
- “A federal judge in Texas wants you to know she’s sick and tired of whiny lawyers” [Justin Rohrlich, Quartz from December, Brad Heath on Twitter; Align Technology v. ClearCorrect, Judge Vanessa D. Gilmore]
Alabama readers: I’ll be giving a 11:30 a.m. talk to the Federalist Society chapter in Montgomery this coming Thursday at the Capital City Club in Montgomery, discussing gerrymandering and the cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Drop by and say hello!
Under an Alabama law passed before World War II, many county sheriffs can keep what are deemed extra sums allocated for inmate meals but not used for that purpose. Some large counties require the surplus to be turned over to general county funds. Can sheriffs of other counties convert the funds to personal use? In Etowah County (Gadsden), a local resident says he was paid to mow the sheriff’s lawn with checks from from the sheriff’s “Food Provision Account.” [Connor Sheets, Al.com] And in a followup, four days later local police arrested the resident who had told the reporter about being paid for lawn-mowing. The raid, said to have been based on an anonymous call reporting the odor of marijuana issuing from within an apartment, resulted in charges against him later bumped up to felony drug trafficking based on weight: “Once that marijuana was mixed with the butter then the whole butter becomes marijuana, and that’s what we weighed.” [Sheets, Al.com]
- “When you find yourself threatening to find more reasons to put even more citizens in jail in order to protect your revenue stream, it’s maybe time to take a step back and think about what you’re doing.” [Scott Shackford on Alabama forfeiture debate]
- How IRS spent $20 million on debt collection program that generated $6.7 million in payments [Howard Gleckman, Tax Policy Center]
- “Federal Judge Strikes Down New York City’s Dragnet That Seized Thousands Of Cars Without Warrants” [Nick Sibilla, IJ/Forbes]
- Prison phone calls and other captive markets: “Stop squeezing prisoners’ families for cash” [Megan McArdle]
- “The high price of being wrongly accused in Alabama’s ‘monetized’ criminal justice system” [Ashley Remkus, Al.com]
- “Cop Who Called Asset Forfeiture ‘A Tax-Liberating Goldmine’ Sued for Illegal Traffic Stop and Seizure” [C.J. Ciaramella; Kane County, Ill.]
“The Alabama Supreme Court says a man can’t go forward with his lawsuit against a company involved in booking a death metal concert where he was injured.” The plaintiff said he was thrown to the ground during the Mobile event and suffered serious spinal injuries. “The decision says ICM Partners received a $250 commission for booking the band but had no other involvement.” [Insurance Journal; compare successful claims against advertisers, broadcasters, and others following the 2003 Rhode Island Station Nightclub fire]
- SCOTUS grants certiorari in three First Amendment cases, bringing term’s total to four so far: National Institute of Family & Life Advocates v. Becerra (challenge to California law requiring “crisis pregnancy centers” to convey state-prescribed messages), Lozman v. Riviera Beach (scope of First Amendment claims for retaliatory arrest), Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky (ban on political apparel at polls) [Ronald K.L. Coleman, Amy Howe/ SCOTUSBlog, Eugene Volokh, Howard Wasserman]
- Roy Moore threatens Alabama newspapers with legal action, newspapers fire back with preserve-your-records-or-risk-sanctions warning [Erik Wemple, Washington Post]
- Section 230 at risk: proposed amendment to trafficking bill doesn’t go nearly far enough to remove chilling effect on online speech [R Street coalition letter, Mike Godwin, The Hill, earlier]
- “Judge Smacks Down Another Anonymous Cop’s Lawsuit Against Black Lives Matter” [Tim Cushing, TechDirt; earlier on Baton Rouge suits]
- Asian-American band gets their trademark “The Slants” — fought over in a case that went to the Supreme Court — registered at last [Eugene Volokh, earlier]
- “Sen. Feinstein’s Threat to ‘Do Something’ to Social Media Companies Is a Bigger Danger to Democracy Than Russia” [Scott Shackford, Reason]
Lawyers, grammarians and connoisseurs of nastygrams will be studying this one for a long time: attorney Trenton Garmon, representing Alabama Senate candidate (and longtime Overlawyered favorite) Roy Moore, has sent a demand letter to Alabama press outlets instructing them that they had better not run certain negative stories. [Elliot Hannon, Slate; Ed Kilgore, New York mag] More: Kevin Underhill, Lowering the Bar.