Posts Tagged ‘live in person’

Washington, D.C. March 2: Book forum on business and the Roberts Court

At 4 p.m. on March 2 — that’s Thursday of next week — I’m hosting a Cato book forum for Jonathan Adler to discuss his new book, Business and the Roberts Court (Oxford University Press, 2016). Commenting will be Andrew Pincus of Mayer Brown. Details and registration here:

Is the Supreme Court “pro-business?” That’s a claim often heard from critics of the Roberts Court, now circulating once more amid a likely battle over the confirmation of a successor to the late Justice Antonin Scalia. But what does the claim mean? Does it charge the Court with ruling wrongly in favor of business litigants, with shaping legal doctrine in unprincipled ways, or with something else? In Business and the Roberts Court, Professor Jonathan Adler assembles essays from scholars who consider how and whether Roberts Court decisions can or cannot be fairly deemed favorable to business. One pattern is that this Court follows doctrinal commitments — in areas from free speech to federalism to employment and securities law — that sometimes though not always coincide with the interests of producers and employers in the national economy. As the Senate considers President Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the vacant seat on the Court, join us for a book forum on one of the most important elements of Chief Justice John Roberts’ rule — and Antonin Scalia’s legacy.

If you can’t make it in person, you can watch live online.

Last week’s debate: Article V convention to propose constitutional amendments

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Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of appearing at the Intelligence Squared debate series before a New York audience on the topic: “Call a Convention to Amend the Constitution.” Under the series rules, whichever side advances its audience approval ahead more from the original baseline wins. Over the course of the debate, our negative side advanced our side by 21 points, compared with 10 for the affirmative of Prof. Larry Lessig and Mark Meckler. The IQ2 hosts congratulated us on a convincing victory (my ally was Prof. David Super). Probably the only time in my life a camera has caught me doing a high five!

The debate page includes a live transcript of the event, research papers and other resources. The IQ2 series also has selected several clips of highlights of the debate including this one on whether small and large states would have the same vote at a convention. The 2012 Mike Rappaport paper for Cato that I refer to in my closing remarks is here, and I’ve covered Article V convention proposals here and here (and more generally.)

On Monday of last week Prof. Larry Lessig and I joined Brian Lehrer’s much-listened-to WNYC radio talk show to discuss the issue. Listen here:

Debating a constitutional convention this week

New York listeners: I’m scheduled to be a guest on Brian Lehrer’s popular WNYC radio show tomorrow (Monday) morning, probably 10:30 a.m. or so, debating famed Harvard Law professor Larry Lessig on the topic of a convention to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution. (Lessig supports that idea, I’m skeptical). That’s a foretaste of the live Intelligence Squared debate that will follow on Wednesday, in which two other debaters will be joining us, Mark Meckler, president of Citizens for Self-Governance joining Lessig for the affirmative and Georgetown law professor David Super joining me for the negative.

“Justice Scalia’s Telecommunications Legacy”

Antonin Scalia’s work on telecommunications deregulation before he became a judge is not one of the more widely known parts of his career, but as director of a White House office on telecom policy in the 1970s he played a key role in promoting removal of old legal barriers to competition and innovation, which in turn laid the groundwork for the emergence of modern online data, voice, and entertainment delivery. This panel discussion at the Federalist Society Lawyers National Convention features Henry Goldberg, Richard Wiley, and Prof. Richard Epstein, with Texas Justice Don Willett moderating. At the very end of the Q&A period I ask a question from the audience, resulting in an exchange with Richard Epstein in which we reminisce about Scalia’s time as editor of Regulation magazine.

In Albany talking New York’s lawsuit mess

I joined Thomas Stebbins and host Liz Patterson on Wednesday to discuss municipal liability on New York Time Warner Cable’s Capital Tonight, with the conversation reaching such perennial Overlawyered topics as trees and playgrounds. I was in Albany to keynote (and sign books at) the annual meeting of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York, which Stebbins directs; my talk mentioned the recent Saratoga County case in which an adult woman sued her brother after a trampoline injury, Ralph Nader’s Museum of American Tort Law, and many other topics.

The $720 million that New York City paid out in judgments and claims in fiscal 2016 amounts to more than the payouts of the next 19 biggest cities combined, writes Thomas Stebbins in a piece for the Progressive Policy Institute based on a new Governing magazine article by Mike Maciag on the burdens of municipal liability. (Four of the nation’s 24 biggest cities did not respond to the Governing survey and are not included in the calculation.) Trial lawyers’ political clout in New York — which has preserved such throwbacks as the notorious “scaffold law” in construction — is a prime reason, and it doesn’t help that the state’s highest court has begun regularly handing down verdicts driving the law in a pro-plaintiff direction. While serious police brutality suits are only too common in the city, flimsy ones are too:

In past years, New York often agreed to pay out small settlements just to make cases go away. Elizabeth Daitz, who heads the police department’s legal unit, says it got to the point to where protesters would taunt police officers at rallies, telling them about settlements they’d received and threatening to sue again. One settlement in early 2015 drew particular ire from officials. A man wielding a machete had threatened police officers and was shot in the leg during an altercation; the man then accused the police of wrongdoing. The city agreed to a $5,000 settlement, even though the man had plead guilty to menacing an officer. Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed to make changes. “Unfortunately, the reality is, if we stand and fight, we will be spending a lot of time in court, using up a lot of lawyers, and it will cost a lot of money,” he told reporters after the settlement was announced. “But it’s worth it to end the madness of these frivolous lawsuits, which are not fair to the city, and not fair to the officers involved.”

One favorable trend for New York City: payouts by its Health and Hospitals Corporation declined somewhat after the city put the entity in charge of its own legal cases.

August 17 roundup

  • Upcoming evening panel on the Olympics and aggressive trademark/copyright policing, with Jim Harper, Julian Sanchez, and me, Kat Murti moderating [at Cato, August 24]
  • “We are drowning in law.” New reform project from Philip K. Howard’s Common Good [Take-Charge.org]
  • “Extremely Rare Deadly Balloon Tragedy Leads to Familiar Calls for More Regulation” [Scott Shackford, Reason]
  • FTC, reversing its administrative law judge, asserts widened authority over data security practices in LabMD case [James Cooper, earlier here, etc.]
  • Baltimore police matters, gerrymandering, historic preservation and more in my latest Maryland roundup at Free State Notes;
  • “Shark-Attack Lawsuit Raises Interesting Questions, Like What Were You Doing in the Ocean to Begin With” [Lowering the Bar]

On religious exemptions in discrimination law

Last summer I was a panelist in New York City when the law firm of Fried Frank hosted its 15th annual Michael R. Diehl Civil Rights Forum, on the topic of “Balancing Liberties: The Tension between LGBT Civil Rights and Religious Exemptions.” It’s now been posted online. Other participants included Marci Hamilton (Cardozo Law School and private practice) and Rose Saxe (ACLU). Of the three, I was the panelist who defended the broadest legislative scope for exemptions based on conscience and religious scruple from laws of otherwise general applicability. Jesse Loffler moderated.

More talks on redistricting reform

I’ve been doing a fair bit of speaking on the cause of redistricting reform in Maryland, which is sure to be back next year although the powers that be in the legislature just adjourned for the year without letting it reach floor consideration or even a committee vote. I joined popular D.C.-area radio host Kojo Nnamdi and had a chance to explore the issues at more depth on Frederick County’s “Eye on Our Community” with Kai Hagen.

In the Herald-Mail, Tamela Baker also has a great write-up of my speech this week (with PowerPoint!) at Hagerstown Rotary. Don’t hesitate to invite me to speak on this topic just because you’re in another state — the issue is a national one.