Posts Tagged ‘Cato Institute’

Justice Sotomayor on administrative law’s “stacked deck”

Last week the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Return Mail Inc. v. USPS, posing the patent law issue (to quote SCOTUSBlog) of “Whether the government is a ‘person’ who may petition to institute review proceedings under the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act.” On pp. 30-31 of the transcript, Justice Sonia Sotomayor referred favorably to the Cato Institute’s brief on the unique dangers that can arise when federal agencies litigate before tribunals operated by federal agencies.

And that wasn’t even the best part! This was, from her comments immediately afterward, on the failure of the law to specify whether the word “person” includes the government:

It does seem like the deck is stacked against a private citizen who is dragged into these proceedings. They’ve got an executive agency acting as judge with an executive director who can pick the judges, who can substitute judges, can reexamine what those judges say, and change the ruling, and you’ve got another government agency being the prosecutor at the same time.

In those situations, shouldn’t you have a clear and express rule?

Cato joins amicus brief challenging Indian Child Welfare Act

“For Congress to impose a racialized and non-neutral regime on parents and children is not only unwise and unfair, but unconstitutional.” The Cato Institute has joined an amicus brief challenging the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) in the Fifth Circuit case of Brackeen v. Bernhard. I’ve got more details in a new post at Cato at Liberty. Earlier on ICWA here.

Cato challenges SEC gag-order settlements

When the Securities and Exchange Commission settles with defendants, it extracts gag orders forbidding them forever after from making or causing to be made “any public statement denying, directly or indirectly, any allegation in the complaint.” We noted that fact briefly in yesterday’s roundup adding the question: Is it constitutional for the government to do that?

It isn’t according to the Cato Institute, which wants to publish as a book a businessman’s personal memoir telling his side of the story about his legal battles with the SEC, but cannot do so given that he consented to a settlement containing the gag order. Cato, represented by the Institute for Justice, has now filed suit seeking a court determination that the government cannot use gag orders in settlements to silence those it accuses of wrongdoing. [Clark Neily, Cato at Liberty]

IJ’s press release about the case has fun with redaction:

Banking and finance roundup

Cato-centric edition:

New: Cato Supreme Court Review (including me on gerrymandering and the Constitution)

On Monday the Cato Institute published its annual Cato Supreme Court Review for the 2017-18 Supreme Court term. Included is my 7,000-word article on the Supreme Court’s cases last term on partisan gerrymandering, Gill v. Whitford (Wisconsin) and Benisek v. Lamone (Maryland). Several people have told me that I managed to make a dry and complicated subject understandable and even entertaining, which I take as the highest compliment.

The entire CSCR is online, and here are its contents. I assisted in the editing of the pieces by Joseph Bishop-Henchman on the Internet sales tax case South Dakota v. Wayfair, and by Jennifer Mascott on the government-structure case Lucia v. SEC.

FOREWORD AND INTRODUCTION

The Battle for the Court: Politics vs. Principles by Roger Pilon
Introduction By Ilya Shapiro

ANNUAL KENNETH B. SIMON LECTURE

The Administrative Threat to Civil Liberties by Philip Hamburger

IMMIGRATION AND NATIONAL SECURITY

The Travel Bans by Josh Blackman

POLITICAL GERRYMANDERING

The Ghost Ship of Gerrymandering Law by Walter Olson

THE CRIMINAL LAW

Katz Nipped and Katz Cradled: Carpenter and the Evolving Fourth Amendment by Trevor Burrus and James Knight

Class v. United States: Bargained Justice and a System of Efficiencies by Lucian E. Dervan

THE FIRST AMENDMENT AND THE CULTURE WARS

Masterpiece Cakeshop: A Romer for Religious Objectors? by Thomas C. Berg

To Speak or Not to Speak, That Is Your Right: Janus v. AFSCME by David Forte

NIFLA v. Becerra: A Seismic Decision Protecting Occupational Speech by Robert McNamara and Paul Sherman

Regulation of Political Apparel in Polling Places: Why the Supreme Court’s Mansky Opinion Did Not Go Far Enough by Rodney A. Smolla

FEDERALISM AND GOVERNMENT STRUCTURE

Betting on Federalism: Murphy v. NCAA and the Future of Sports Gambling by Mark Brnovich

Internet Sales Taxes from 1789 to the Present Day: South Dakota v. Wayfair by Joseph Bishop-Henchman

“Officers” in the Supreme Court: Lucia v. SEC by Jennifer Mascott

NEXT YEAR

Looking Ahead: October Term 2018 by Erin E. Murphy

Cato adoption conference now online

More kids find homes when government doesn’t stand in the way: videos are now online from Thursday’s successful Cato adoption conference. They include a first panel on discrimination law and religious agencies:

A keynote address on international adoption by Harvard law Prof. Elizabeth Bartholet:

And a final panel on policy obstacles to adoption.


I figure in all three sessions, in the first as introducer/panelist and in the other two as moderator.

Supreme Court roundup

Supreme Court roundup

  • More on this to come, but Epic Systems, the workplace arbitration decision, is an epic win for contractual freedom and a big loss for the class action bar [earlier here and here]
  • SCOTUS will revisit 1985 Williamson decision, which “makes it very difficult to bring takings cases in federal court.” [Ilya Somin on cert grant in Knick v. Township of Scott, earlier]
  • Gorsuch and Thomas: similar originalist methods, which do not always arrive at similar results [Ilya Shapiro]
  • “Can Agencies Adjudicate Patentability?” Two views of the recent case Oil States Energy Services v. Greene’s Energy Group [Cato “Regulation,” Jonathan Barnett and Jonathan Stroud via Peter Van Doren]
  • “Victory for Defendant Autonomy and the Criminal Jury Trial in McCoy v. Louisiana” [Jay Schweikert]
  • Quantitative analysis of amicus brief success at Supreme Court tells many stories, among them the sterling record of the Cato Institute’s amicus program [Adam Feldman, Empirical SCOTUS]

Wisconsin’s butter-grading scheme

Wisconsin, where dairy producers hold great political sway, maintains a uniquely onerous scheme of butter grading that “has nothing to do with public health or nutrition” but does serve to restrict the sale of butter made in other states, including high-end artisanal butter. Representing Ohio’s Minerva Dairy, the Pacific Legal Foundation has sued to overturn the regulation on Commerce Clause, Due Process, and Equal Protection theories, and Cato has now filed a pun-strewn amicus supporting the due process and equal protection claims [Ilya Shapiro and Matt Larosiere]

February 7 roundup

  • “The rate of litigation is simply so much greater in the U.S., it is understandable why [foreign firms] feel as though they have a target on their backs.” [Richard Levick, Forbes]
  • Don’t forget: at noon Eastern tomorrow (Thursday) I’m hosting Lenore Skenazy (Free-Range Kids) and Dara Lind (Vox) at Cato to talk about problems with the sex offender registry. You can watch online here. Background here and here;
  • Regulators don’t always enforce all the regulations on their books. Yes, and? [Aaron Nielson] And the Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, now free online, has an article on Regulation by Michael Munger;
  • “Is your child texting about partisan gerrymandering?…” My bit of Twitter humor [Free State Notes]
  • Lawyer seeks injunction against specific part of rapper’s masculine anatomy [Deborah Horne, KIRO]
  • The next generation of libertarian thinkers, leaders, and advocates are part of the Cato Institute internship program [promotional video]