- Put a Plimsoll line on a T-shirt and you might hear from trademark lawyers [Cyrus Farivar, ArsTechnica]
- “Do Landlords Have a Duty to Evict Drug-Using Tenants (or Face Liability if Guests Die When Using Drugs with Them)?” [Eugene Volokh]
- Interview with Judge Jeffrey Sutton about his new book on state constitutions, “51 Imperfect Solutions: States and the Making of American Constitutional Law” [Ilya Somin, parts one and two] Federalist Society teleforum with Judge Sutton, Randy Barnett, and Judge William Pryor;
- “American Airlines bans insects, hedgehogs and goats as emotional support animals” [CNNMoney/WQAD] Peacocks begone: “JetBlue Updates Requirements for Emotional Support Animals” [press release]
- Gov. Hogan vs. teachers’ unions, pension mandate, a socialist for MoCo County Executive?, and more in my latest Maryland roundup [Free State Notes]
- “A Devastated Puerto Rico Must Still Contend with the Jones Act” [Cato Podcast with Colin Grabow and Caleb Brown, earlier]
It’s okay to view “conversion therapy” as worthless quackery yet still have misgivings about the government banning it, I argue [Free State Notes]
- “A Lawyer Who Helped an Exoneree Blow Through $750,000 Is Under Investigation” [Joseph Neff, Marshall Project]
- Department of State agency accreditation delays help worsen decline in international adoption [Kim Phagan-Hansel, Chronicle of Social Change]
- Fifth Circuit affirms sanctions award against ADA attorney Omar Rosales over “reprehensible misconduct” including “fabricating evidence” and “fraud on the court.” [Deutsch v. Phil’s Icehouse]
- Baltimore’s school mismanagement, GOP delegates cool on beer reform, non-citizen voting, Metro subway decay and more in my new Maryland roundup [Free State Notes]
- Eccentric English judge of olden days: “The Incoherence of Serjeant Arabin” [Bryan A. Garner]
- “L.A. Lawmakers Looking To Take Legal Action Against Google For Not Solving Long-Running City Traffic Problems” [Tim Cushing, TechDirt on controversy over Waze routing of traffic onto steep-graded street]
I like advocacy journalism as well as the next fellow — at least I consume a lot of it as a reader. That doesn’t mean the federal government should be funding it, thereby giving a boost to one side of environmental debates in the mid-Atlantic region. My new piece for the DC Examiner examines the Environmental Protection Agency’s longstanding subsidies for the influential Chesapeake Bay Journal.
This week the Supreme Court heard oral argument (transcript) in Benisek v. Lamone, the challenge to Maryland’s gerrymandered Sixth District. I was there with some critics of the gerrymander in front of the Court steps and spoke to a number of reporters afterward [Danielle Gaines, Frederick News-Post; Bruce DePuyt, Maryland Matters] See also Eric Boehm, Reason. Earlier here. Background links on Maryland case: Cynthia Prairie, Maryland Reporter in January.
Congratulations! You may not have realized it was happening, but your municipality has put you in a special revitalization zone which means the property taxes you owe them will quintuple. That’s the message some suburban Maryland business owners got recently, subject of my new Cato piece. Excerpt:
Specialists in local and state government policy are full of ideas for business-by-business and location-by-location tinkering with tax rates, both downward (as part of incentive packages to lure relocating businesses) and upward (to finance special public services provided in some zones, such as downtown revitalization). But there is a distinct value in terms of both public legitimacy and the rule of law in having uniform and consistent taxation that does not depend on whether a property owner or business is on the ins or on the outs with the tax-setting authorities.
- Ruth Bader Ginsburg: “There’s been criticism of some college codes of conduct for not giving the accused person a fair opportunity to be heard, and that’s one of the basic tenets of our system, as you know, everyone deserves a fair hearing.” Jeffrey Rosen: “Are some of those criticisms of the college codes valid?” Ginsburg: “Do I think they are? Yes.” [Atlantic] Related: Stuart Taylor Jr. & KC Johnson, Real Clear Politics; Linda LeFauve & Stuart Taylor Jr. on the long-deflated yet still influential Lisak campus rape study;
- “Forcing Students to Apply to College Is a Bad Idea” [George Leef, Martin Center, earlier]
- “Congress Should Deregulate Private Universities, Not Regulate Them More” [John McGinnis, Liberty and Law on bill to restrain colleges from applying discipline for membership in a fraternity or sorority]
- “What’s more, any program proposed by a Maryland university must be reviewed by the monitor to ensure it will not harm the historically black schools.” [Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, Washington Post]
- 88-year-old NYU psychology professor denounced to bias cops for curricular choices on gender politics, not using students’ preferred pronouns [Dean Balsamini/New York Post, Alex Domb, Washington Square News on case of Prof. Edgar Coons] Ideological state of the law schools not good [Mark Pulliam/Misrule of Law, and thanks for mention]
- “No one should be entitled, though, to a particular mix of holiday celebrations.” [Eugene Volokh on Loyola (Chicago) controversy]
I have myself been critical of President Donald Trump’s refusal to divulge his tax returns, but the bill advanced in the Maryland Senate purporting to make that a requirement for the next presidential ballot in Maryland is partisanship at its most inane. [Sponsors] are here attempting to (1) impose a new qualification on presidential candidates not found in either the U.S. constitution or federal law; (2) do so by means of denying ballot access in their own state, which means by restricting the choices of their own electorate; and (3) do so with the open aim of opposing a single particular candidate.
We may pause for a moment to imagine how this sort of stunt could be pulled by other partisans against other candidates, should it catch on.
No wonder California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) vetoed a similar bill because of the obvious constitutional concerns.
Related: in U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton (1994), a Supreme Court divided 5-4 held that Arkansas could not add to the qualifications for election to Congress enumerated in the Constitution by disqualifying candidates who had already served a set number of terms in office; it also specifically rejected the view that a restriction on ballot access does not act as a bar to office because it leaves open the possibility of running as a write-in.
Note also that the Arizona legislature in 2011, under the influence of “birther” sentiment, passed a measure requiring presidential candidates to provide proof of citizenship in order to get on the state’s ballot. Although natural born citizenship unlike the release of tax returns is of course a genuine constitutional prerequisite for serving as president, the interference with the appropriate distribution of federal-state power, as well as the intent to target one particular candidate, namely birther target and incumbent President Obama, was evident enough that conservative Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed the measure.
- “Wyoming: Efforts to strip state courts of jurisdiction to hear K-12 funding lawsuits reintroduced; courts could declare funding system unconstitutional but could not order more funding” [Gavel To Gavel, more on school finance litigation]
- Coalition of accusers’-rights groups sue Education Department demanding restoration of earlier Obama versions Title IX guidance [KC Johnson Twitter thread pointing out weaknesses in suit]
- “A High School Student Faces Expulsion for Noticing the Square Root Symbol Looks Like a Gun” [Scott Shackford]
- How a political machine based on the schools lobby ran one affluent suburban county (Montgomery County, Maryland) before fumbling its grip [Adam Pagnucco, The Seventh State]
- Costs approach $1M in Southern California special ed dispute over one student’s education [Ashly McGlone, San Diego Union-Tribune]
- Japan: “Of course, this ignores the absurdity that students are being required, or feel required, to dye their hair because of a policy that was supposedly meant to prohibit students from dying their hair.” [Lowering the Bar]
A “56-year-old man pleaded guilty Thursday in Caroline County District Court to one count of ‘attempted suicide’ and was sentenced to a three-year suspended jail sentence, and two years of probation.” While the Maryland legislature has not enacted any law against attempting to end one’s own life, the state’s judicial system continues (unlike most states’) to recognize a category known as common law crimes. [Justin Fenton, Baltimore Sun]