Posts Tagged ‘California’

April 19 roundup

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), key vote on tort reform in upper house, plans Texas visit to raise funds from trial lawyers [Palmetto Business Daily]
  • “Indeed, most major law schools have fewer conservatives or libertarians on their faculty than can be found on the U.S. Supreme Court.” [Jonathan Adler, Martin Center]
  • Anti-craft-beer bill, Marilyn Mosby followup, legislature rescinds earlier Article V calls, Baltimore minimum wage in my latest Maryland roundup;
  • Man given $190 ticket for having pet snake in park off-leash. Off leash? [John Hult, Sioux Falls Argus-Leader]
  • As victim’s wife looks on, identity thief and 20-time illegal border crosser testifies that he fathered two of victim’s children [Brad Heath on Twitter citing Judge Bea ‘s opinion in U.S. v. Plascencia-Orozco, Ninth Circuit]
  • Central California: “State and federal legislation take new aim at predatory ADA lawsuits” [Garth Stapley, Modesto Bee]

The power to describe what a ballot proposition does

State attorneys general aggressively use, and frequently misuse, the legal authority often vested in them to sum up in language for voters what a ballot measure would do or mean. One chronic area of frustration: AG summaries of measures intended to bring California public pensions under better fiscal control [Judy Lin, L.A. Times via Steve Greenhut, California Policy Center]

Free speech roundup

  • “Spanish woman given jail term for tweeting jokes about Franco-era assassination” [The Guardian]
  • If California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s 15-felony complaint and arrest warrant against activist filmmakers David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt is a vendetta, it’s one motivated by speech. That’s serious [Jacob Sullum]
  • “A.B. 1104 — a censorship bill so obviously unconstitutional, we had to double check that it was real.” [EFF on stalled California bill to ban “fake news,” introduced by Assemblymember Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park)] “Germany approves bill curbing online hate crime, fake news” [AP/Yahoo, earlier]
  • “Another Free Speech Win In Libel Lawsuit Disguised As A Trademark Complaint” [Tim Cushing, TechDirt; criticism of doctor’s experimental treatment methods]
  • Punching a hole out of Section 230: new “sex trafficking” bill could have far-reaching consequences for web content and platforms [Elizabeth Nolan Brown, Reason]
  • One section of a Maine bill would bar state’s attorney general from investigations or prosecutions based on political speech [HP 0551; Kevin at Lowering the Bar is critical of bill]

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]