Posts Tagged ‘illegal drugs’

Watching you for your own good

Under a sweeping surveillance program, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration “secretly spied on Americans who bought money counters, ‘the vast majority’ of whom “were never shown to be connected to illicit drug-related activities.” The “administrative” subpoenas the DEA routinely issued to companies that sold money counters not only were “conducted without any court oversight, they were ‘unrelated to a specific drug trafficking investigation or target.'” [Nick Sibilla, Forbes via IJ]

Medical roundup

Illinois high court nixes collective-geographic-liability law on drug overdoses

Over a dissent from two of its justices, the Illinois Supreme Court has struck down a law purporting to establish collectivized liability for drug overdoses: “Illinois state law allows family members of people who overdose to sue anyone within a given geographic area who sold or distributed the same kind of drug. Illinois Supreme Court: It violates due process for a plaintiff to recover a lot of money from a person who had no connection at all to the drug user. Dissent: Although the law ‘pushes the boundary of civil liability by dispensing with traditional notions of causation,’ we’re meant to be more deferential to the legislature under the rational basis test.'” [John K. Ross, IJ “Short Circuit” on Wingert v. Hradisky (citing parallel “market share liability” doctrines; “At least 18 states and one territory of the United States have adopted the Model Act or some version of [the Model Drug Dealer Liability Act]”)]

Schools and childhood roundup

  • Stop active-shooter drills in schools: “Preparing our children for profoundly unlikely events would be one thing if that preparation had no downside. But in this case, our efforts may exact a high price.” [Erika Christakis, The Atlantic] “Lockdowns and active-shooter drills have led to officers firing blank rounds to simulate live fire, mock executions of teachers, and students tearfully writing out wills while hunkered down. …Last year, The Post reported an estimate that the odds of a child being fatally shot while at school any given day since 1999 was 1 in 614,000,000.” [Jonathan Blanks, Washington Post/Cato]
  • After ordeal with Child Protective Services based on drug test fluke, Western New York mom “is certain of one thing, she’ll never eat a poppy seed again.” [WROC]
  • Answer: no. “Should access to a public education be a constitutional right for all children?” [Jessica Campisi, Education Dive; Mark Walsh, Education Week, covering AEI debate on holding of 1973 Supreme Court case of San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez against such a federal right]
  • Pay attention to the politics of schools of education, because they help determine what you’ll see in the classroom down the road [Jay Schalin, Martin Center] More: University of Washington’s Secondary Teacher Education Program “is a 12-month immersion in doctrinaire social justice activism.” [Quillette]
  • “The Regressive Effects of Childcare Regulations” [Cato video with Ryan Bourne]
  • “Court revives Obama-era rule that incentivizes racial quotas in special ed” [Liam Bissainthe]

Discrimination law roundup

  • New EEOC chief data officer says machine learning algorithms may soon enable agency to predict, and deploy resources against, workplace bias before it happens [Paige Smith, Bloomberg Law]
  • “The BSO, in a statement, defended its pay structure, saying that the flute and oboe are not comparable, in part because the oboe is more difficult to play and there is a larger pool of flutists.” [Geoff Edgers, Washington Post/Allentown Morning Call]
  • Even they can’t comply: “The case was ironic since the commission is charged with eliminating discrimination in Pennsylvania.” [Matt Miller, PennLive, on the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission’s jury loss in a race discrimination complaint] “Do as they say, not as they do: employees accuse Planned Parenthood of pregnancy discrimination” [Jon Hyman]
  • Fourth Circuit: maybe Title VII doesn’t create a right to swipe files from HR [Jon Hyman]
  • Although libertarians support legalizing marijuana, they should not support laws that bar employers from discriminating on the basis of marijuana use [Jeffrey Miron, Cato]
  • “Why do women earn less than men? Evidence from train and bus operators” [Valentin Bolotnyy and Natalia Emanuel via Tyler Cowen]
  • Minnesota jury orders women’s football team and league to pay $20,000 to transgender applicant turned away [Mary Lynn Smith, Minneapolis Star Tribune]

Constitutional law roundup

  • Kansas Supreme Court rules 4-3 that cops can conduct warrantless search of private homes if they say they smell marijuana. Practical difference between this and “…whenever they please” is not clear [Tim Carpenter, Topeka Capital-Journal] More: Jacob Sullum;
  • At Timbs v. Indiana oral argument, Court seems sympathetic to idea of applying Excessive Fines clause to the states [Robby Soave, Jacob Sullum, Ilya Somin, earlier here, here, and here] Notwithstanding Justice Gorsuch and Kavanaugh’s interjections, there is and has been no uniform incorporation of the entire Bill of Rights against the states [Rory Little]
  • Arizona Supreme Court should recognize that First Amendment protects right of calligraphic art studio not to be forced to draw invitations and vows for wedding ceremony of which owner/artists disapprove on religious grounds [Ilya Shapiro and Patrick Moran on Cato Institute amicus brief in Brush & Nib Studio v. City of Phoenix]
  • Claim: notwithstanding SCOTUS precedent to the contrary, U.S. Constitution contains no general federal power to restrict immigration [Ilya Somin and others, Cato Unbound symposium, more]
  • “The Supreme Court Really Needs to Start Defining the Scope of the Second Amendment” [Ilya Shapiro and Matthew Larosiere on Cato amicus brief in Mance v. Whitaker, interstate sales by gun dealers] “Bump Stock Rule Bumps Up Against the Constitution” [Shapiro and Larosiere] “The Most Common Firearm in America is Not a ‘Weapon of War’” [same on Cato amicus brief in Worman v. Healey, Massachusetts ban on “assault weapons”] Federal court strikes down as unconstitutional New York’s ban on nunchaku [AP, Lowering the Bar with previous coverage of lawyer’s quest]
  • “An individual’s right to live free from governmental intrusion in private or personal information is natural, essential, and inherent.” That’s a recently adopted provision of the New Hampshire constitution. Now what does it mean? [David Post]

November 28 roundup

  • Georgia woman jailed for three months after field drug test misidentifies contents of plastic bag in her car, which she had told disbelieving officers contained blue cotton candy [WMAZ] Related: Georgia “Drug Recognition Expert” officers sometimes arrest drivers who are sober [Brendan Keefe and Michael King, WMAZ in January]
  • “What I call the four forces of the regulatory state — regulation by administration, prosecution, and litigation; and progressive anti-federalism—operate mostly independently of Congress, notwithstanding the legislative branch’s constitutional power to ‘regulate Commerce … among the several States.'” [Jim Copland, City Journal]
  • Rights of associational privacy: Bradley Smith of the Institute for Free Speech comments on the ongoing relevance on the 60th anniversary of NAACP v. Alabama [Cato Daily Podcast with Brad Smith and Caleb Brown]
  • “If you’ve flown on a major airline within the past 7 years, you might be cashing in” although the settlement website admits it’s “possible that ticket buyers will never get any money from the lawsuit” owing to fees and expenses [KMBC]
  • To argue for freedom, sometimes it makes sense to argue for things other than freedom [Jonathan Rauch on same-sex marriage and medical marijuana controversies, quotes me; David Henderson/EconLib]
  • “The Eleventh Circuit takes a tour through the history of copyright and the nature of authorship in exploring whether the state of Georgia can assert copyright in its annotated state laws and thereby prevent a nonprofit from making them available for free online. (It can’t.)” [John Kenneth Ross, IJ “Short Circuit,” on Code Revision Commission v. Public.Resource.Org]

Crime and punishment roundup

  • “They Shared Drugs. Someone Died. Does That Make Them Killers?” [Rosa Goldensohn, New York Times in May, earlier on overdose prosecutions here, etc.]
  • Also from May, missed this good Jill Lepore piece on rise of victims’ rights revolution, powered by both feminist and conservative impulses [The New Yorker; my comment on victim impact statements]
  • UK: sexual assault cases collapse after prosecution shown to have held back material helpful to defense [Sky News]
  • “The ongoing problem of conveniently malfunctioning police cameras” [Radley Balko]
  • Bail reform activists shift focus toward problems with/tradeoffs of risk assessment algorithms, suggesting that previous “whole problem is private actors making a buck” theme might have been oversimplified [Scott Shackford, earlier here, here, here, etc.] Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown signs comprehensive bail reform bill [Jazmine Ulloa, L.A. Times]
  • Second Circuit: New York’s gravity-knife law isn’t unconstitutionally vague [opinion courtesy Institute for Justice, earlier]

Poppy seed bagel triggers drug test (again), CPS gets involved (again)

Sitcom plots come to life: mom of newborn reported to state after poppy seed bagel triggers positive opiate test, baby kept in hospital for five days [Zuri Davis, Reason; Chaunie Brusie, Everyday Family; Baltimore County, Md.]

Longtime readers of Overlawyered know that this is not the first time around for this fact pattern. See “Mom ate poppy seed dressing, state holds baby for 75 days” and earlier; Radley Balko reported in 2014 that two lawsuits involving the same western Pennsylvania hospital and county children’s services department were both settled for substantial sums and a third case had been filed against another hospital in the same region. See also re-jailing of halfway house inmate from 2010 (Florida), as well as Dubai airport madness.