Posts Tagged ‘Cato Institute’

More on liability reform in the House — and a federalism angle

I’ve got a post at Cato at Liberty catching up on House action on litigation reform bills — see last week — and comparing it in particular to the recommendations of the chapter on tort and class action law (of which I was one author) in the new 8th edition Cato Handbook for Policymakers. As I note, two measures (on sanctions and class actions) track recommendations Cato scholars have been making for years, while a third (on medical liability] has been scaled back in a way that at least nods to concerns I and others have expressed.

The last few paragraphs of the piece follow:

Finally, there has been a development worth noting on H.R. 1215, the Protecting Access To Care Act, which passed committee by an 18-17 vote on Feb. 28. I and others have repeatedly criticized federal medical liability bills on the grounds that they run into serious problems of federalism and enumerated powers, seeking to justify federal involvement by way of loose New Deal doctrines of impact on interstate commerce, and overriding the workings of state courts even as to the large mass of medical malpractice disputes in which both parties to the lawsuit are local to the state and the costs of error are apt to be local as well. As I argued in this space:

That doesn’t mean federal policymakers are to be left with no role at all. For example, if Washington is paying for a large share of hospital stays, it may make sense as a cost containment measure for it to steer beneficiaries into lower-cost ways of resolving disputes over care quality, or even to ask beneficiaries as a condition of treatment to agree not to file certain suits at all. But that would require stepping back toward a more careful—and more Constitutionally appropriate—view of the federal role.

This year, PACA includes a new limiting provision. To quote Rep. Bob Goodlatte, on the bill’s latest version:

Unlike past iterations, this bill only applies to claims concerning the provision of goods or services for which coverage is provided in whole or in part via a Federal program, subsidy, or tax benefit, giving it a clear federal nexus. Wherever federal policy affects the distribution of health care, there is a clear federal interest in reducing the costs of such federal policies.

Whether the provision in question is drafted in such a way as to pass federalist muster is a question for another day — but it does at least seem that someone on Capitol Hill may have been listening to our past critiques.

Jonathan Adler, “Business and the Roberts Court”

On March 2 I hosted a Cato book forum for Jonathan Adler to discuss his recent edited volume Business and the Roberts Court. Andrew Pincus commented. For more about this book — featuring contributors such as Joel Gora on Citizens United, Brian Fitzpatrick on the Twombly/Iqbal pleading cases, and Richard Lazarus on the emergence of a specialized Supreme Court bar — see Jonathan Adler’s interview with Ronald Collins at SCOTUSBlog, his posts at Volokh Conspiracy here and here, and this Stephen Bainbridge post.

Free speech roundup

Disparagement perfected: Cato brief in Lee v. Tam

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.

September 28 roundup

  • Today at Cato, Josh Blackman discusses his new book Unraveled: Obamacare, Religious Liberty, and Executive Power with comments from Washington Post Supreme Court reporter Robert Barnes and Philip Klein of the Washington Examiner, Ilya Shapiro moderating [watch live 12 noon Eastern]
  • Breed-specific laws fuel mass euthanasia: “Montreal Gearing Up To Sentence Huge Numbers Of Innocent Dogs To Death” [Huffington Post]
  • Feds prepare to mandate mechanical speed governors capping road speed of tractor-trailers; truckers warn of crashes and traffic jams [AP/San Luis Obispo Tribune]
  • “You have to go back to the Red Scare to find something similar,” said Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) of advocacy-group subpoenas by Hill committee in “Exxon Knew” probe. Or just five months to the CEI subpoena [Washington Post hearing coverage which oddly omits mention of CEI episode]
  • “I’m not here to take away your guns.” Why Hillary Clinton’s assurances ring hollow [Jacob Sullum] Trump’s comments defending stop-and-frisk and no-fly no-buy further undercut his never-impressive claims as defender of gun liberty [AllahPundit, Leon Wolf, Ilya Somin]
  • Why my Cato colleagues believe the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership (TPP) is worth supporting as a trade liberalization measure despite some suboptimal aspects [Daniel J. Ikenson, Simon Lester, Scott Lincicome, Daniel R. Pearson, K. William Watson, Cato Trade]

Free speech roundup

  • Our defense of free expression should go beyond the utilitarian and consequentialist: Flemming Rose’s acceptance speech last week on receiving the Cato Institute’s 2016 Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty [Cato Daily Podcast, WSJ “Notable and Quotable” excerpt, earlier; Michael Tanner on Rose’s role in the Mohammed cartoons episode and more recent Cato book, The Tyranny of Silence; my related post in context of Copenhagen terrorist attack]
  • Virgin Islands attorney general withdraws D.C. subpoena demanding 10 years of records from Competitive Enterprise Institute in “climate denial” probe, in what looks to be a tactical fallback rather than a durable concession of CEI’s rights [CEI; John Sexton]
  • FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) launches every-other-week podcast series, kicked off by interview with Jonathan Rauch, author of Kindly Inquisitors [“So To Speak“]
  • “Tax Prep Company Tries To Sue Unhappy Customer Into Silence; Hit With Damages In Anti-SLAPP Order” [Tim Cushing, TechDirt]
  • Media law has intersected with champerty and maintenance in the copyright complaint campaigns of recent years [earlier, OpenSource, and CopyHype on RightHaven episode]
  • One of my community’s favorite businesses, Flying Dog Brewery, is using the damages received from a legal battle with the state of Michigan over its Raging Bitch IPA label to found a nonprofit “First Amendment Society” dedicated to “awareness-raising and advocacy around free-speech issues and organizing events that promote “the arts, journalism and civil liberties”; on Wednesday I attended its kickoff press conference in Washington, D.C. with civil rights lawyer (and friend of this site) Alan Gura and Flying Dog CEO Jim Caruso [Ronald Collins, Elizabeth Nolan Brown/Reason, Flying Dog, earlier]

International free speech roundup

  • Tonight in New York City, Cato presents its Milton Friedman Award to Danish journalist Flemming Rose, a key figure in the [still-ongoing] Mohammed cartoons episode, and author of The Tyranny of Silence [David Boaz, Cato]
  • Troubles in Turkey: journalists sentenced to two years in jail for reprinting Charlie Hebdo cover [Reuters, Reason] Erdogan’s campaign against foreign critics assumes extraterritorial reach with complaints against comedian in Germany and Geneva exhibit [Colin Cortbus/Popehat, Foreign Policy]
  • Ya mad wee dafty: “Man faces hate crime charge in Scotland over dog’s ‘Nazi salute'” [Guardian]
  • Publish a “wrong” map of India, face seven years in jail and a huge fine [Hindustan Times; “crore” = 10 million]
  • United Kingdom man fined £500 for calling romantic rival “fat-bellied codhead. [Blackpool Gazette]
  • Emulating USA tycoon D. Trump, China pressures finance analysts against negative forecasts [WSJ, Barron’s on the Marvin Roffman story, which I used to tell when giving speeches on my book The Litigation Explosion]

Randy Barnett, “Our Republican Constitution”

Georgetown law professor Randy Barnett came to Cato April 21 for a book forum to discuss his new book Our Republican Constitution: Securing the Liberty and Sovereignty of We the People (reviews). Roger Pilon introduced and there were comments from University of Maryland law professor Robert Percival. Description in part:

The Constitution begins with the words “We the People.” But from our earliest days there have been two competing notions of “the People,” leading to two very different constitutional visions. Those who view “We the People” collectively think popular sovereignty resides in the people as a group, which leads them to favor a democratic constitution that allows the will of the people to be expressed by majority rule. In contrast, those who think popular sovereignty resides in the people as individuals contend that a republican constitution is needed to secure the preexisting inalienable rights of “We the People,” each and every one, against abuses by the majority. In his latest book, with a foreword by George Will, Randy Barnett explains why “We the People” would greatly benefit from the renewal of our republican Constitution, and how this can be accomplished in the courts and the political arena.

During the Q & A period, I ask a question about amending the U.S. constitution. More: Nick Gillespie interviews Barnett for Reason TV.