Posts Tagged ‘California’

Judge blocks California law on publishing actors’ ages

“A federal judge has barred the State of California from enforcing a new law limiting online publication of actors’ ages.” The actor’s union SAG-AFTRA, the measure’s chief advocate, had aimed it against online movie database IMDB, claiming that the goal of preventing employment discrimination outweighed any First Amendment concerns about banning publication of truthful information. A judge disagreed. [Josh Gerstein, Politico; Eugene Volokh; Gabrielle Carteris/Hollywood Reporter]

Should the Ninth Circuit be split?

Mostly unrelated to this week’s dramatic oral argument before a Ninth Circuit panel is the perennial question of whether the circuit itself has grown too large and should be split in two, separating most other Western states from California [Debra Saunders, Las Vegas Review-Journal]:

It’s so big that Congress has looked at bills to split the circuit since 1941, and it’s so big that none of those measures have succeeded.

This year, however, Sens. Jeff Flake and John McCain, both R-Ariz., see the possibility of success. They’ve introduced legislation to create a new 12th Circuit by peeling away six states — Nevada, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Arizona and Alaska. The slimmed-down 9th Circuit would continue to hear appeals from California, Oregon and Hawaii, as well as Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands….

The 9th Circuit is the only circuit to hold “en banc” — or full bench — hearings with 11 of its 29 judges [rather than the full number]. Olson has taken to calling the 9th Circuit “the court that’s not all there.”

California law on signed memorabilia batters booksellers

Extending to collectibles generally a law that had applied to autographed sports memorabilia, California law will now require dealers of signed items priced above $5 to provide a certificate of authenticity on pain of severe legal penalties. The certificate, which must be retained by the seller for seven years, must include sensitive information such as the name and street address of the former owner. One of many big problems with that: it could halt the sale of countless old books signed by their authors or former owners. One force behind passage of the law: celebrity Mark Hamill had expressed frustration over trade in items allegedly signed by him. The bill’s sponsor says she did not intend it to apply to booksellers, but the language of the statute affords them no exclusion. [LitHub, earlier]

Banking and finance roundup

California: please reconsider Traynor’s parol evidence mistake

The traditional parol evidence rule reduces the scope of litigation by providing that unless a completed contract is uncertain or ambiguous, courts will not entertain extrinsic evidence, such as allegations of contrary oral representations, to alter its interpretation. In the 1968 case of Pacific Gas & Elec. Co. v. G. W. Thomas Drayage Co., the California Supreme Court and Justice Roger Traynor adopted a much more liberal alternative rule in which extrinsic evidence could be brought in to create ambiguity even when at variance with clear provisions. In a 1988 case, Judge Alex Kozinski, obliged to apply the doctrine in a diversity case, noted that the confusion created by PG&E and subsequent opinions “casts a long shadow of uncertainty over all transactions negotiated and executed under the law” of California.

In the case of Jibe Audio, LLC v. Beats Electronics, LLC, the Washington Legal Foundation is urging the California Supreme Court to hear the case and use it as an occasion to reconsider its approach to the subject: “California’s conception of the parol evidence rule creates uncertainty for people and businesses engaging in commercial transactions. Allowing this rule to persist will just allow the mass exodus of business from California … to continue,” said WLF’s Richard Samp. [case detail, press release, brief, background (James C. Martin and Benjamin Shatz)]

Labor and employment roundup

  • “Apprenticeships: Useful Alternative, Tough to Implement” [Gail Heriot, Cato Institute Policy Analysis]
  • “Hiring Without Headaches – A Possibility or Fantasy?” [Daniel Schwartz on President Obama/Stephen Colbert “job interview”]
  • Employee misclassification as ULP: Obama NLRB “is now basically creating unfair labor practices out of thin air” [Jon Hyman]
  • In the mail: Jeb Kinnison, “Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations” [Amazon/author’s site]
  • Now, for a change of pace, a less critical view of the Obama NLRB and its legacy [Andrew Strom, On Labor, parts one and two]
  • How much flexibility is there in the special California constitutional law doctrine forbidding even prospective cuts (i.e., of not-yet-earned benefits) to public employee pensions? [Sasha Volokh, earlier]

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]

Environment roundup

  • Subpoena turnabout not fair play: Congressional Republicans investigating state AGs’ climate advocacy probe are lobbing subpoenas at private enviro groups that urged the anti-speech campaign. Knock it off, two wrongs don’t make right [Eli Lehrer and earlier] “You don’t need complicated models to figure out what happens when governments censor speech. The evidence on that question is solid.” [Steve Simpson]
  • And speaking of fraud in policy advocacy (whatever that may mean) some varieties of it are plainly going to have no legal consequences whatsoever [Matt Welch channeling Virginia Postrel on California political class and high-speed rail]
  • Michigan attorney general Bill Schuette says 40 anti-pipeline activists gathered and beat on the front door of his home for 30 minutes with his wife alone there [Detroit News]
  • Pro-nuclear demonstrators blockade Greenpeace office in San Francisco, but wouldn’t the ultimate way to protest an odious environmental group be to respect the property rights of all concerned? [SFist]
  • “It’s a shotgun approach”: injury lawyers find many defendants to blame after Flint public water fiasco [NPR via Renee Krake, Legal Ethics Forum]
  • “District court voids Obama administration fracking regulations” [Jonathan Adler, Alden Abbott]

After lawsuit, ChristianMingle.com agrees to do gay online matchmaking

The Church of Anti-Discrimination, most confident of sects, will settle for nothing short of full establishment: under a California court settlement, ChristianMingle.com, which bills itself as the largest online Christian dating site, has agreed to establish search options for men seeking men and women seeking women. Two California men had sued under the state’s expansive Unruh Civil Rights Act. Owner Spark Networks, which admitted no wrongdoing, “agreed to pay each plaintiff $9,000 each and $450,000 in attorneys’ fees to the two men’s lawyers.” [Jacob Gershman and Sara Randazzo, WSJ Law Blog] At Patheos, David Smalley, who describes himself as a pro-gay atheist activist, says the episode is based on too broad a definition of public accommodation; declining to offer a particular service is not the same as offering it to the public but turning down some customers. “Since when can the government tell us what products or services we must offer to future customers? Every atheist, every liberal, and every business owner needs to fight for Christian Mingle’s rights to offer the products or services they choose, even if we disagree with their practices or philosophy behind it all.”

Related: Ontario won’t license grads of conservative Christian law school [Charles Lewis/National Post, earlier]