Having grown up in families that experienced firsthand the oppressive potential of untrammeled state power, these individuals naturally gravitated toward libertarianism, with its deep-rooted suspicion of government overreach. “Those of us who share that story share the same reason for why we became libertarian,” explained Sasha Volokh, now an associate professor at Emory Law School.
- The law blog that almost brought down ObamaCare [Trevor Burrus, Cato] “In Government, Nothing Succeeds Like Failure,” public policies being hard to adjust when they go astray [Peter Schuck, HuffPo]
- Sexual harassment claim: “Attorneys awarded more than 600 times damages in Calif. case” [Legal NewsLine]
- KlearGear, of non-disparagement fame, reaps the online whirlwind [Popehat, Public Citizen, Volokh, earlier]
- “What if American Exceptionalism, properly understood, really boils down to associational liberty?” [Richard Reinsch, Liberty Law] Do religious-liberty carve-outs in same-sex marriage laws go too far, not far enough, or neither? [Dale Carpenter et al. vs. Richard Garnett et al.]
- What jury didn’t hear in qui tam award against pipemaker JM Eagle [Daniel Fisher, more]
- Majority of appointed commissioners on Consumer Product Safety Commission is is no hurry to reduce inordinate CPSIA testing burdens, per retiring commissioner Nancy Nord (more);
- Woman who claims to own sun says she prevailed in lawsuit brought by man who claims to own universe [Lowering the Bar]
Details here. The “Hall of Fame” began last year with 10 inductees and this year the ABA Blawg 100 competition is inducting 10 more, with us in the batch. Its description:
Whether or not you’re sympathetic to tort reform and the idea that the government overregulates, Overlawyered is a little hair-raising and eye-opening. Its stated mission is to bring to light abuses of the legal system that raise costs and inhibit justice. Acquired this year by the Cato Institute, the blog is the project of Walter Olson, a senior Cato fellow. Having celebrated its 15th anniversary in July, Overlawyered says it may be the oldest legal blog: “At least, no one seems to be able to name one that’s older.”
So far as anyone we know has been able to tell us, Overlawyered, launched in July 1999, is the longest running blog about law. From time to time the question arises whether it was the very first law blog, a question discussed at Bob Ambrogi’s LawSites (and in turn noted in an Editor’s Note at the above ABA link). It was certainly not the first regularly updated law site; there were plenty of those in 1999, such as Mark Astarita’s seclaw.com which dates back to 1995 (!). In a 2003 post Greg Siskind writes that his visalaw.com was first to adopt a blog format, citing a 1998 post (visible at Wayback Machine here) that provided regular updates on H-1B legislation over the course of a month, with older updates scrolling down the page, and which drew wide traffic. For reasons I advance at LawSites, I think a lot depends on one’s definition of what a blog is, and that’s probably not a subject we’ll all agree on soon.
- Dropping a legal cinderblock on his head: I’m quoted on CPSC’s aggressive legal action against former Buckyballs CEO Craig Zucker [Barbara Hollingsworth, CNS; NYT covers story; earlier here, etc.] Related, CPSC finally holds public hearing on magnet sets standard [WLF Legal Pulse].
- SCOTUS sleeper Bond v. U.S., on treaty power + toxic love triangle, no longer a sleeper as George Will devotes column to it [syndicated/WaPo, earlier]
- “The Ideological Migration of the Economics Laureates” [Daniel Klein et al, Econ Journal Watch via Tyler Cowen and Arnold Kling]
- Steven Teles’s diagnosis: “Kludgeocracy in America” [National Affairs; reactions from Brink Lindsey (“libertarianism serves as America’s superego while progressivism supplies the ego and id”), Ilya Somin, Nicholas Geiser/CEI “Open Market”]
- Farewell to Blawg Review’s “Ed.,” whose identity I never learned [Ron Coleman/Likelihood of Confusion, ABA Journal, Mark Bennett/Defending People; Overlawyered hosted Blawg Review #33 in 2005 and #220 in 2009; see also mentions and #56 at Point of Law]
- “Emotional linkbait”: police, press rush far ahead of evidence in many claims of bullying-induced suicide [Kelly McBride, Poynter]
- Wow: Columbia, S.C. interim police chief says he’ll come after advocates of pot law reform [Popehat]
Chilling effects of the surveillance state [Glyn Moody, ComputerWorld UK]:
Groklaw is shutting down, as a direct result of the revelations that the world’s communications – including our emails – are being spied upon by the NSA and GCHQ. That’s a huge loss for the open source world: Groklaw played an immensely important part in fighting off the absurd but dangerous SCO attack on free software. Alongside that main work it has conducted countless legal analyses of various other attempts to use patents and copyright to undermine open source. And it has done it applying the open source method of collaboration, a significant achievement in itself.
But the guiding force behind Groklaw, PJ, feels she can’t go on when something so fundamental as the privacy of her communications can no longer be taken for granted. In her final post, she compares the feeling to an earlier one when her flat was broken into, and someone went through all her belongings.
Not unrelated: “What Should, and Should Not, Be in NSA Surveillance Reform Legislation” [Electronic Frontier Foundation]
- Electric-car maker Tesla doesn’t get many kind words from free market types, but here’s one [Coyote] More: North Carolina auto dealer lobby strikes back [News & Observer]
- One lawyer’s selection of the worst lawyer billboards, though they’re far from the worst we’ve seen [John M. Phillips]
- House hearings on litigation abuse and on litigation and international competitiveness [Judiciary, more, Point of Law]
- Ninth Circuit cites conflict of interest, throws out credit reporting class settlement [Trial Insider; Daniel Fisher]
- Private pensions, market-based water rates and more: “Australian travel notes from a policy wonk” [Alex Tabarrok]
- “Use elevators properly. Riding outside of cars can be dangerous and deadly” [Scouting NY, seen in Bronx apartment building]
- “It’s long been my view that blawgs, law blogs, are the greatest peer reviewed content ever created.” [Greenfield]
- “The Cash Machine: How the Philly D.A. seizes millions in alleged crime money — whether there’s been a crime or not.” [Isaiah Thompson, Philadelphia City Paper via Alkon] Jacob Sullum on the Motel Caswell forfeiture case [syndicated, earlier]
- Online symposium on Brandon Garrett’s Convicting the Innocent: Where Criminal Prosecutions Go Wrong [Co-Op]
- Victims of Detroit police raid on art gallery nightclub get some justice [Ferndale 115]
- John Baker on mens rea and “strict liability” crimes [Fed Soc, PDF]
- Radley Balko has moved his Agitator blog to Huffington Post. And (via @normative) Cato’s Police Misconduct project is tweeting at @NPMRP.
- Want to cross-examine someone on that traffic-camera ticket? Be prepared to pay travel costs for the camera company person [Scott Greenfield] “The mission creep of rape shield law” [same]
- “Does the Criminalization of Tort Inhibit Safety Investigation?” [Beth Haas, Faculty Lounge]
- Ninth Circuit dissent: ruling “jeopardizes academic freedom” by making it too easy for students to sue professors [WSJ Law Blog]
- When the bumptious and sociopathic go after our blogging friend, it’s Ken 1, b./s.-ers zero [Popehat]
- Uh-oh: “Election Results Seen as Victory for Business of Law” [Gina Passarella, The Legal Intelligencer]
- In the mail: “How to Feed a Lawyer: And Other Irreverent Observations from the Legal Underground” [Evan Schaeffer]
- “Cato Files Brief in the First Federal Appeal Regarding the Contraception Mandate” [Ilya Shapiro, earlier here, here, etc.]
- “Judicial independence” campaigners snooze through unfair attacks on D.C. Circuit [WSJ, earlier]
- “Anyone whose blood pressure needs a boost should check out Overlawyered…” [James DeLong, American Thinker]
…is the FTC’s and the nation’s gain, as President Obama nominates Josh Wright of Truth on the Market and George Mason University to a Republican seat on the Federal Trade Commission. Among our many links to his work: Posner and expert witnesses, Spanish professor sued by recording industry, e-book antitrust case, forum-shopping in Philadelphia, Chicago on law and econ, Google antitrust, executive debarment, cheap calories, behavioral law and econ, unisex insurance rates, Dodd-Frank, and many, many others. More reactions: Stephen Bainbridge, Ted Frank (“Best thing Obama’s ever done”).