- Antitrust legislation once targeted the unstoppable rise of chain stores A&P and Sears, both now bankrupt [my new Cato post, quoting Joe Nocera, Bloomberg (“The next time you hear somebody say that the dominance of Walmart or Amazon or Facebook can never end, think about Sears. It can — and it probably will.”)]
- When you wish upon a suit: visitor grabs Disney cast member and screams at her after she asks him to move out of parade route, later pleads no contest to disorderly conduct, now wants $15,000 [Gabrielle Russon, Orlando Sentinel]
- Tomorrow (Thurs.) at noon Eastern, watch a Cato panel on “Coercive Plea Bargaining” with Scott Hechinger of Brooklyn Defender Services, Bonnie Hoffman of the NACDL, and Somil Trivedi of the ACLU, moderated by Cato’s Clark Neily. Could you resist taking a plea bargain if faced with a false accusation? [Marc John Randazza, ABA Journal]
- “I am a Democrat. But this may be the dumbest thing I have seen…. the Speech or Debate Clause makes about as clear as anything in the Constitution that a court cannot enjoin legislative officials from taking a fundamental legislative action such as a vote.” [Howard Wasserman on suit by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) asking court to, among other things, order delay of Senate vote on Kavanaugh nomination]
- An ideological screen for CLE? Following demands from tribal attorneys, Minnesota bar authorities order shelving of continuing legal education class on Indian Child Welfare Act developments taught by attorney Mark Fiddler, who often handles ICWA cases on side adverse to tribes [Timothy Sandefur]
- Left-leaning Florida Supreme Court nixes plan to let incumbent Gov. Rick Scott fill vacancies, entrenching its leftward lean for a while at least depending on outcome of governor’s race [Spectrum News 9]
How efficient is social media in spreading viral-junk misinformation about the law? Well, the following post about Tuesday’s two-page Supreme Court ruling in Brakebill v. Jaeger, a case about voting procedures in North Dakota, has gotten more than 18,000 shares as of this morning:
1. Brakebill was not Justice Kavanaugh’s first ruling. If you so much as glance at the Court’s opinion, it’s hard to miss its second sentence: “JUSTICE KAVANAUGH took no part in the consideration or decision of this application.”
2. There is no indication that the vote was 5 to 4. Liberal Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer did not join the dissent.*
3. Justice Ginsburg’s dissent contains no language even remotely like that put within quotation marks here. Her tone is technical rather than indignant, and she does not challenge anyone’s motives as illegitimate.
4. The Court did not issue a decision upholding the laws. It was a denial of an application to vacate a stay, not a ruling on the merits.
And we haven’t even gotten to the merits! Three and a half days after posting, its author has not seen fit to correct any of his errors.
Here’s a rule of thumb about social media: the more anger, the less accuracy. More on viral junk and thinking before you share here.
* A reader on Twitter points out that in the absence of a signed majority opinion, we can’t know for sure that the vote against vacating the stay necessarily came out 6-2; we know only that if there were other Justices who wanted to vacate the stay, they declined to join the Ginsburg-Kagan dissent. I’ve corrected the text above accordingly.
Our September 20 Cato legal panel on the Indian Child Welfare Act (more) was more timely than I could have imagined. In the federal case of Brackeen v. Zinke, discussed on the panel, Judge Ryan O’Connor of the Northern District of Texas on October 4 declared major provisions of ICWA unconstitutional on multiple grounds including equal protection and anti-commandeering doctrine. More: Timothy Sandefur; Matthew Fletcher, TurtleTalk; Emma Platoff, Texas Tribune; John Kelly, Chronicle of Social Change.
Appeal is likely. Just before the decision, the public-radio-associated program Native America Calling had a program showcasing tribal advocates’ views. I’ve written about the Act, including its constitutional and moral infirmities, here and, as part of a Cato Unbound symposium, here.
“Passed in 1978, the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) was intended to stop abusive practices by state and federal officials, who often removed Native American children from their families without sufficient justification. But today, ICWA is the subject of litigation in federal and state courts by challengers who argue that it imposes race-based restrictions on adoption and makes it harder for state officials to protect Native American children against abuse and neglect.”
On September 20 I moderated a Cato discussion of recent developments and upcoming challenges to ICWA, presented by Timothy Sandefur, Vice President for Litigation at the Goldwater Institute and author of Escaping the ICWA Penalty Box; Matthew McGill, attorney for plaintiffs in Brackeen v. Zinke, a major ICWA lawsuit under way in Texas; and Charles Rothfeld, who represented the birth father in the important ICWA case Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl. Earlier on ICWA here.
- Peer-to-peer car sharing platforms could reduce the costs of car usage, unless elements of rental car industry manage to strangle it through regulation [Jonathan M. Gitlin, ArsTechnica on Illinois Gov. Rauner’s veto of a bill to cripple startups] Are we headed toward a legal requirement that cars be designed to sense that a driver has high blood alcohol and not function then? Does it matter whether the car is self-driving? [Nicole Gelinas]
- “11th Circuit rages against ‘incomprehensible’ shotgun complaint, concludes lawyer’s intent was delay” [ABA Journal]
- Quackery and bluster define the lawsuit filed by NY, MD, NJ, and CT attorneys general against Congress’s curtailment of state and local tax (SALT) deduction [Reilly Stephens; more, Howard Gleckman, Tax Policy Center]
- “Conservative/Libertarian Faculty Candidates Are Hired By Law Schools Ranked 12-13 Spots Lower Than Equally-Credentialed Liberal Applicants” [James Cleith Phillips via Paul Caron/TaxProf]
- Coming next week: I’m set to host and moderate a Sept. 20 forum at Cato in D.C. on the Indian Child Welfare Act. Featured are three lawyers who have been involved in high-profile ICWA litigation, Timothy Sandefur of the Goldwater Institute, Matthew McGill of Gibson Dunn, and Charles Rothfeld of Mayer Brown and Yale Law School [details and registration; event not livestreamed, but video to be posted later]
- And now for something completely different: “Charles Evans Hughes and Chevron Deference” [Gerard Magliocca]
The government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has moved to support bringing Canada’s laws into line with the terms of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, something predecessor administrations had resisted. The result is likely to involve major changes to the current rights and obligations of Canadians [Matt Pollard, Opinio Juris; earlier on the Declaration here and here, and related here, here and here]
Distantly related, perhaps: a symposium on “Global Justice for Indigenous Languages” [Columbia University Institute for the Study of Human Rights]
- After oral argument, case challenging agencies’ use of in-house administrative law judges (Lucia v. SEC) remains hard to predict [Ilya Shapiro, Cato; earlier]
- In dissent from cert denial: “Justices Thomas and Gorsuch Argue for Rejecting Deference to Agency Interpretation of Agency Regulations” [Eugene Volokh, Ilya Shapiro and Matthew Larosiere on Garco Construction, Inc. v. Speer]
- High court still gun shy [Trevor Burrus and Matthew Larosiere on refusal to review Maryland felon gun possession ban] Ninth Circuit ruling on zoning exclusion of firearms business deserves cert review [Shapiro and Larosiere on Teixeira v. Alameda County] Court denies cert in widely watched Defense Distributed First Amendment case on dissemination of plans for 3-D printed weapon [Smith Pachter, earlier] A historical look: “The American Indian foundation of American gun culture” [David Kopel]
- “The Supreme Court’s grant of a Contracts Clause case for the first time in a quarter-century reminds me that a certain John G. Roberts wrote a student note on the Clause back in 1978 (available at 92 Harv. L. Rev. 86).” [Aditya Bamzai on Twitter]
- University of Chicago Law Review special issue on Justice Scalia [Will Baude; other recent Scalia scholarship includes articles on his influence in implied rights of action and standing]
- Case on cert petition before SCOTUS could clarify law on distribution of property after church schisms [Samuel Bray on Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina v. Episcopal Church]
- Two new podcast series on free speech: “Make No Law,” from Ken White (Popehat) on Legal Talk Network; Clear and Present Danger: A History of Free Speech from Jacob Mchangama for FIRE and other groups;
- No, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act does not require tech companies to provide a “neutral public forum.” Has Sen. Ted Cruz been properly briefed on this? [John Samples]
- “Arizona naturopath Colleen Huber is suing me in Germany for defamation over my opinions about her so-called natural cancer treatments and research.” [Britt Hermes, Naturopathic Diaries]
- “Should the Government Get to Define ‘Native-American’ Art? One Woman’s Free Speech Fight” [Paul Detrick, Reason]
- “Minnesota prohibits any insignia deemed to be “political” — as determined solely at the discretion of the on-site election judges—from being worn into a polling place.” Overbroad? [Ilya Shapiro and Reilly Stephens on Cato brief in Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky]
- Free speech was under fire in 2017 [Jeffrey M. McCall, Providence Journal]
- Despite withdrawal of Obama-era guidance on Title IX and discipline, many colleges sticking so far to its prescriptions [Ashe Schow, Real Clear Investigations] GW Federalist Society debate with Stuart Taylor, Jr. vs. Wendy Murphy, moderated by Renee Lettow Lerner [video] And don’t forget next Tuesday’s Cato event at which I’ll host journalist Emily Yoffe discussing her blockbuster Atlantic series on this subject, with Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post commenting [watch online or register to attend]
- Feds have no business coercing school districts into race-based discipline policies. Time for DeVos to act to rescind Obama guidance [Max Eden, National Review; related, Jerome Woehrle, Liberty Unyielding (on Hans Bader’s work), Dave Huber, The College Fix (Minnesota)] “Racial disciplinary quotas violate equity in its root sense. They entail either systematically overpunishing the innocent or systematically underpunishing the guilty. They place race at war with justice.” [Posner, chief judge, in People Who Care v. Rockford Board of Education, 111 F.3d 528 (7th Cir. 1997);
- Oxford grad sues university over “disappointing” exam grades nearly twenty years ago, blighted his hopes of Harvard Law [Kaye Wiggins, Bloomberg]
- Ford Foundation, teachers’ unions back new group that will sue schools, states, feds on civil rights issues [Michael Stratford, Politico, third item]
- For kids to be sent off to English-language boarding schools did ruinous harm to American Indian communities, right? Testing the conventional account [Matthew T. Gregg, Journal of Development Economics via Tyler Cowen]
- Lenore Skenazy of Free-Range Kids fame has a new nonprofit taking it the next step [Let Grow]
- Will it ever end? “Monkey Selfie Photographer Says He’s Now Going To Sue Wikipedia” [Mike Masnick, TechDirt, earlier]
- Justice Thomas argues Indian Reorganization Act is unconstitutional [Upstate Citizens for Equality v. U.S., land-into-trust, dissenting from denial of certiorari]
- “How much does it cost to reimburse a probation officer for $60 pants? About $4,300, so far” [John Beauge, PennLive]
- On Gill v. Whitford, partisan gerrymandering, and the uses of math in law [Erica Goldberg]
- Brazil makes progress on fighting corruption, advancing rule of law [Juan Carlos Hidalgo on new Cato policy analysis by Geanluca Lorenzon]
- “Activision are fighting a [trademark] for ‘Call of DooDee’, a dog-poop-removal service” [PC Games]