“In a rebuke to a feminist idea that has migrated from college campuses to mainstream culture, an influential legal group overwhelmingly rejected Tuesday a provision that would have endorsed an ‘affirmative consent’ standard for the purpose of defining sexual assault.” [Bradford Richardson, Washington Times] The American Law Institute proposals, which would have significantly expanded the definition of criminal sexual assault, had drawn sustained criticism from some civil libertarians [Stuart Taylor, Jr., John Fund, Ashe Schow/Washington Examiner; more, Scott Greenfield first and second posts] The ALI project in general is supposed to be aimed at restating courts’ current consensus in applying and interpreting the law, but often becomes the scene of efforts to tug the law in one direction or another. “Affirmative consent” has made inroads as a standard in the college disciplinary setting.
- Judge lifts gag order against Reason magazine in commenter subpoena case, and U.S. Attorney’s Office for Manhattan is shown to have behaved even more outrageously than had been thought [Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch, Ken White/Popehat (magistrate’s approval of gag order looks an awful lot like rubber stamp; AUSA directly contacted represented party), Paul Alan Levy (when bloggers push back, gag orders tend to get lifted), Matt Welch again with coverage roundup]
- Maryland authorities clear “free range” Meitiv family of all remaining charges in kids-walking-alone neglect case [Donna St. George, Washington Post]
- Disgraced politico Monica Conyers sues McDonald’s over cut finger [Detroit News]
- American Law Institute considers redefining tort of “battery” to protect the “unusually sensitive”, Prof. Ronald Rotunda on problems with that [W$J]
- “Did you ever falsely represent yourself as an attorney?” asks the lawyer to her client in front of reporter [Eric Turkewitz]
- Feds endorse alcohol-sniff interlock as new-car option, critics say eventual goal is to force it into all cars, assuming rise of self-driving cars doesn’t moot the issue first [Jon Schmitz/Tribune News Service]
- Echoes of CPSIA: regulatory danger is back for smaller soap and cosmetic makers as big companies, safety groups combine to push Personal Care Products Safety Act [Handmade Cosmetic Alliance, Elizabeth Scalia, Ted Balaker, Reason TV and followup (Sen. Dianne Feinstein objects to “nanny of month” designation, points to threshold exemptions for smaller businesses), earlier on predecessor bills described as “CPSIA for cosmetics”, National Law Review (panic over recent NYT nail salon expose might contribute to momentum)]
This fall, I had the honor of being elected to the American Law Institute—along with Point of Law blogger Michael Krauss and CL&P blogger Brian Wolfman.
Next week, the ALI has its annual meeting in Washington. Of critical importance is the May 20 vote on amendments and the Final Draft of its Principles of the Law of Aggregate Litigation—a document that could be of great influence in the way courts think about class actions. Beck and Herrmann have a must-read post detailing the issues involved. And they note that ALI is a nose-counting organization: policy is made by those that show up. If members of your law firm or university are ALI members, please pass along the post to them.