- 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]
“Ohio State is seeking a trademark on one of the most common words in the English language. The school, formally known as The Ohio State University, is seeking a trademark on the word ‘The’ for use on clothing and hats.” [ESPN] The rival University of Michigan responded:
— University of Michigan (@UMich) August 14, 2019
Meanwhile, a small firm in Wales called Boss Brewing has changed the name of some of its products following trademark opposition and cease and desist correspondence from the German clothing maker Hugo Boss. [Timothy Geigner, TechDirt]
Update: the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has sent a letter to Ohio State indicating that the application will be rejected, although one of its reasons might be unsettling, namely that another applicant (the Marc Jacobs fashion house) had already filed to seek a trademark on the word “The” as applied to handbags, knapsacks, and the like [Caron/TaxProf]
- “Rejected Applicant Sues Law Schools for Violating Magna Carta” [Kevin Underhill, Lowering the Bar]
- “Attorney sued for malpractice is suspended after releasing client’s psychiatric records” [Stephanie Francis Ward, ABA Journal]
- Moving state and local alcohol regulation past the bootlegger/Baptist era [Cato Daily Podcast with Jeremy Horpedahl]
- In Charlottesville today? I’ll be on a University of Virginia School of Law panel discussing redistricting / gerrymandering reform, campaign and election law, Maryland politics and more [Ele(Q)t Project]
- Rejecting ADA claim, Georgia Supreme Court says man cannot blame sleep apnea for “alleged inability to be truthful, accurate, and forthcoming” in bar application [Legal Profession Blog]
- Update: after national outcry, county D.A. in North Carolina drops charges of unlicensed veterinary practice against Good Samaritan who took in pets during Hurricane Florence [Wilson Times]
- “Expensive new licensing requirements and the bureaucratic headache of implementing” new regulations are expected to reduce further the number of agencies offering international adoption to U.S. families [Liz Wolfe, Reason] And don’t forget to mark your calendar and, if you can attend in person, register for next week’s July 19 Cato conference on adoption policy, at which international adoption will be one focus;
- Report confirms again what I wrote nearly a year ago: many persons are being held in jail longer under Maryland’s ill-thought-out venture in restricting cash bail [Lynh Bui, Washington Post, my WSJ piece last September, more]
- Online data protection episode is just latest instance of how California initiative process can put disturbing leverage in private hands [Cathy Gellis, TechDirt]
- “The cans now read ‘NON-TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT ALMA MATER IPA’ with no other Pitt-related images.” [Grant Burgman, Pitt News on campus beer trademark controversy]
- “Pregnancy discrimination? Don’t rely on government for additional protection” [Vanessa Brown Calder, Cato]
- If you’re looking to dodge voir dire scrutiny: “How To Get On a Jury” [Mark Bennett, Reason]
Protected geographical designation laws, which prevent the sale in some countries of articles like Champagne or Gouda cheese unless produced in the indicated locality, are sometimes defended as advancing consumers’ interest in fraud prevention or accuracy in labeling; it is also suspected that they can serve to curtail competition and protect incumbents even when no genuinely distinctive local contributions are at issue of soil, technique, etc. In 2000, Newcastle Breweries and Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, obtained a designation on Newcastle Brown Ale, a popular product dating back to 1927, to prevent it from being sold unless manufactured in the city. That didn’t work out so well when the brewery moved to nearby Gateshead four years later. Dan Lewis, Now I Know:
EU regulators took notice and weren’t as forgiving as the brewers would have hoped. The owners of the Newcastle Brown Ale brand had two obvious choices: move back across the Tyne or change the name of the product. Neither was a good option, so the brewery decided to do something new: they applied to have the registration canceled. And as seen in this pdf, they were successful. In August 2007, the EU revoked Newcastle Brown Ale’s PGI status, allowing it to be made across the river — or anywhere else.
Today, Newcastle Brown Ale is made in neither Newcastle nor Gateshead. Heineken, which bought the Newcastle’s brewers in 2008, has since relocated operations to Amsterdam.
- Craft brewery regs, Peter Angelos has another special bill in Annapolis, county council vetoes on development, and more in my latest Maryland roundup [Free State Notes]
- Oh, that pro bono: celebrity lawyer’s pro bono contract for sex accusers included up to one-third commission on selling their stories to media outlets [John Solomon and Alison Spann, The Hill]
- Forget that Viking cruise down the Mississippi River, Jones Act makes it a no-go [WQAD] “The Jones Act costs all Americans too much” [Bloomberg View editorial; earlier here, etc.]
- Cato Daily Podcast with firearms policy expert David Kopel on interstate right to carry and restricting bump stocks;
- Not-so-nastygram in beer biz: “As far as cease and desists go, this is about as good as it gets.” [Timothy Geigner, TechDirt]
- Activist nonprofits with big endowments using litigation to go after soft drink companies. Loser-pays would help [Tiger Joyce, Inside Sources, see also]
- “Cigar City” a familiar monicker for Tampa. Likelihood of confusion between a beer and a salsa brand? [Timothy Geigner, TechDirt]
- USDA checkoff programs, which require farmers and ranchers to participate in group marketing, suffer setback in Montana federal courtroom [Baylen Linnekin, Reason; Joe Fassler/New Food Economy on First Amendment challenge]
- C. Jarrett Dieterle reports from craft brewers conference [Inside Sources] More profiles of Flying Dog CEO Jim Caruso [Reason, The American Conservative; earlier here and here] The great German (regulated) beer stagnation [Esme Nicholson, NPR, 2016]
- Class action: consumer fraud to call dried/powdered vegetable ingredients “veggies”? [Lisa Fickenscher, New York Post] Entrepreneurial lawyers fatten on slack-fill cases [Candy Industry] If only buyers holding a sandwich had a way of judging its weight other than package size [Jake Offenhartz, Gothamist on suit against Pret-a-Manger]
- “The real opposition to food trucks was not coming from restaurants but from commercial real estate interests” [Aaron Renn, Urbanophile]
- Good: Incoming Agriculture Secretary Perdue to introduce “flexibility” into Obama-era school lunch mandates [Tony Mecia, Weekly Standard; Baylen Linnekin, Reason; Joe Simonson, Heat Street; Pat Roberts letter; earlier]
- Also good: FDA delays mandate for calorie labels on prepared food [Tim Devaney/The Hill, WSJ editorial, Seyfarth Shaw, earlier]
- And your hot dog isn’t from Frankfurt or Wien either: consumer class actions claiming beer names are geographically misleading struggle to convince judges [Greg Herbers, WLF]
- “We must destroy the ice cream man,” Senators told at hearing [Renae Ditmer, Indian Country Today]
- Canada recalls batch of liquor for having too much alcohol. Way to set up a sure-fire punch line [Canadian Food Inspection Agency]
- Yet another blow to oft-refuted “food deserts” theory [Christine Vaughan et al., RAND Corporation, earlier]
Jim Caruso, CEO of Frederick, Md.’s Flying Dog Brewery, talks with Cato’s Caleb Brown about legal and regulatory issues in the craft beer business. We earlier followed Flying Dog’s successful First Amendment battle with Michigan regulators over its Raging Bitch label beer, the proceeds from which the company used to endow a speaker series on free speech.
Besides that case, Caruso discusses the “three-tier” system of alcohol distribution set up after Repeal, which is “pretty loose” in much of the West but far stricter in many Eastern states where memories of rum-running lingered on (“organized crime was basically created by Prohibition”). In some states, so-called franchise laws lock manufacturers permanently into an initial choice of distributor for a territory. Some of the laws even authorize distributors to sell brand rights to each other without consulting the original maker, which thus winds up with a distributor it did not have even a notional original role in picking. Originally rationalized as a way to shield small distributors from the clout of giant national brewers, these laws live on into an era in which small craft producers may face well-heeled, politically powerful state distributors.
Did Cato just file the most not-safe-for-work amicus brief in Supreme Court history? It’s on the question (Lee v. Tam) of whether the government can deny trademark protection to words and phrases that are slurs and, in so doing, gather to itself the task of defining what is a slur. The case, involving the Asian-American band The Slants, is widely seen as foreshadowing the eventual outcome of the challenge to the Washington Redskins’ trademark.
Joining Cato as amici: humorist and Cato fellow P.J. O’Rourke; Profs. Nadine Strossen, Clay Calvert, and Erik Nielson; the Reason Foundation; Frederick, Md.’s Flying Dog Brewery and famed artist Ralph Steadman, whose work adorns its labels; and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. It’s signed by Ilya Shapiro and Thomas Berry and written with Trevor Burrus’s assistance.
NSFW warning: as hinted, this brief uses obscene and disparaging words and phrases by the dozens and dozens, so be forewarned.