Posts Tagged ‘Maryland’

Podcast guest: liberty and the Constitution in a time of pandemic

I joined hosts Michael Sanderson and Kevin Kinnally on the Maryland Association of Counties’ popular Conduit Street Podcast, which has a large circulation among civically-minded Marylanders and national reach as well. Our talk ranged widely over legal and governmental aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic emergency, including government’s emergency powers, and how they sometimes don’t go away when the emergency ends; the role of the courts, both during the emergency and after it ends, in enforcing and restoring constitutional norms; contrasts between the state and federal handling of the crisis; and the opportunity this provides (and has already provided) to re-examine the scope of regulation, which has been cut back in many areas so as to allow vigorous private sector response in areas like medical care, delivery logistics, and remote provision of services.

Their description:

On a special bonus episode of the Conduit Street Podcast, Walter Olson joins Kevin Kinnally and Michael Sanderson to examine the role of state and local emergency powers in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Walter Olson is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies. a libertarian think tank in Washington, D.C. A resident of Frederick County, Olson recently served on the Frederick County Charter Review Commission. Olson has also served as the co-chair of [the Maryland Redistricting Reform Commission, created in] 2015.

MACo has made the podcast available through both iTunes and Google Play Music by searching Conduit Street Podcast. You can also listen on our Conduit Street blog with a recap and link to the podcast.

You can listen to previous episodes of the Conduit Street Podcast on our website.

You can listen and download here (40:04). [cross-posted from Free State Notes] Related: Nashville radio host Brian Wilson did an extended riff on my Wall Street Journal op-ed on federalism and the virus emergency; you can listen here. And I appeared on screen as a source for a Sinclair Broadcasting TV report (see 1:45+).

Easing license burdens for the duration, and afterward

In two emergency declarations Thursday, governors eased the burdens of licensing for the duration of the coronavirus emergency: Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced that persons holding valid out-of-state medical licenses could get them recognized on one-day approval, while Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan extended the expiration dates of all licenses, permits, registrations, and the like until 30 days after the end of the emergency. I put it in context in a new Cato post.

March 11 roundup

  • Slightly afield from law, but good watching: Yale’s Nicholas Christakis speaks at Cato on his new book Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society [Cato Forum]
  • Tech platform regulation: “The ‘EARN IT’ Act Is Another Terrible Proposal to ‘Reform’ Section 230” [Eric Goldman and more] “Why Does The NY Times Seem Literally Incapable Of Reporting Accurately On Section 230?” [Mike Masnick, TechDirt]
  • Author of new book, a Fordham lawprof, “wants the U.S. Supreme Court (and other federal courts) to enforce international law standards against backward American states and localities.” It’s a no-go, says Jeremy Rabkin [Law and Liberty reviewing Martin Flaherty, Restoring the Global Judiciary]
  • Police transparency, Annie E. Casey Foundation, county liquor stores and bicycle licenses in Montgomery County, and more in my new Maryland policy roundup [Free State Notes]
  • Yikes: former BigLaw partner who specialized in product liability subrogation claims sentenced to five years on charges of defrauding almost $3.5 million from insurers, manufacturers and others [Judy Greenwald, Business Insurance]
  • Somehow missed this in 2018: Texas lawyer disbarred for barratry is re-elected while in jail [Lowering the Bar]

“In liberal Takoma Park, a bold new climate proposal: Banning fossil fuels”

Oh! Takoma! “Takoma Park, the liberal enclave just outside Washington known as the ‘Berkeley of the East,’ is debating whether to outlaw gas stoves, leaf blowers and water heaters. The proposal… would ban all gas appliances, close fossil fuel pipelines, and move gas stations outside city limits by 2045. The cost to the average homeowner could reach $25,000, officials wrote.” [Rebecca Tan, Washington Post]

February 12 roundup

“Make room for lemonade stands”

A new bill in the Maryland General Assembly would prohibit counties and cities from banning children’s lemonade stands when set up occasionally on private property. I submitted these perhaps somewhat tongue-in-cheek comments advising lawmakers to stop them young:

“Today’s breaker of low-level regulations is tomorrow’s breaker of more serious regulations. The ten year old who dabbles in lemonade selling today could become tomorrow’s bringer of a church potluck casserole prepared in a home kitchen rather than an inspected commercial facility. A few years later, accustomed to the ways of regulation-breaking, that same miscreant might use that same home kitchen to bake a dozen pies, plus one for good luck, to bring to a homeless shelter for Thanksgiving.

“The time to stop it is when it starts — on the June day when the first pitcher of lemonade is mixed and hawked to passersby for 50 cents, plus a tip if you get lucky. Stop them young, or they will get used to serving others and along the way learning to act and think for themselves.

“Does this all sound a little crazy and upside down? Well, it is. We should make it easier, not harder, for kids to be enterprising, well organized, and friendly, all lessons of the lemonade stand.”

More here [cross-posted from Cato at Liberty]

January 8 roundup

  • Lenawee County, Mich. authorities have posted condemnation notices on Old Order Amish farmhouses over their use of outhouses rather than modern septic systems as required by code. Dispute now heading for court [Tom Henry, Toledo Blade]
  • Baltimore Mayor Young promotes white-van-abduction urban legends, police misconduct transparency, Montgomery County is watching drivers and more in my latest Maryland policy roundup [Free State Notes]
  • Following outcry from activists, Facebook disables as misleading ads some trial lawyer ads soliciting plaintiffs to sue over purported side effects of HIV prevention drugs [Tony Romm, Washington Post/Toronto Star, Peter Lawrence Kane, The Guardian, WTHR]
  • From Lowering the Bar, legal things that actually did happen in 2019;
  • 20 years ago I warned that by trying to dictate employers’ choices, a Wisconsin law might work to impede convict re-entry into the job market rather than encourage it [Reason, from its archives]
  • If county and city law enforcement officials have discretion not to charge low-level drug offenders, do they also have discretion not to charge low-level gun offenders? [Cam Edwards, National Review on Virginia battle over “Second Amendment sanctuary” resolutions]

Appeals court strikes down Maryland law regulating online political ads

I’m in the Baltimore Sun discussing a bad Maryland law passed in response to the furor over Russian trolling on social media. I wrote about it earlier when a federal district court struck the law down, and now a Fourth Circuit panel, in an opinion by Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson, has agreed that it is unconstitutional. Excerpt:

Exposing foreign governments’ meddling in U.S. politics is a worthy goal. Infringing on First Amendment freedoms is no way to go about it….

[After the law passed] Google immediately stopped hosting political ads in Maryland, a step particularly unhelpful to newcomer candidates, for whom advertising may be one of the few effective ways to boost name recognition. Other platforms, including some Maryland newspapers, also faced a tough position as the effective date of the law drew near. Rather than publish disclosures that might expose to competitors’ eyes confidential information about their ad rates and viewer reach, they might prefer just to immunize themselves by turning down political and issue ads in the future as a category.

Whole thing here.

November 20 roundup

November 6 roundup

  • In the greater Oklahoma City area next Tuesday, Nov. 12? Come out to my lunchtime law school talk at the U. of O. on employment law, sponsored by the school’s Federalist Society chapter [details]
  • A Sixth Circuit opinion thus begins: “This court once observed, ‘[w]hen a party comes to us with nine grounds for reversing the district court, that usually means there are none.’ Steven Hank comes to us with twenty-seven.” [Hank v. Great Lakes Constr. Co., Court Listener]
  • Elizabeth Warren tale of “two cents” wealth tax Hallowe’en costume doesn’t quite add up [my Cato post; another point]
  • Speaking of Warren, when asked what would happen to displaced health insurance workers once private insurance is done away with — not, to be sure, the strongest objection to her plan, but still one worth having an answer for — saying they can go work for auto or life insurers makes about as much sense as saying displaced workers from dance studios can go work for recording or graphic design studios [The Hill]
  • No good deed: Brad Pitt, others on charitable foundation can be sued over alleged flaws in New Orleans homes [AP/WDSU]
  • “Coincidentally or not, current and former members of the Baltimore Orioles, which the Angelos family owns, were dispatched to the [Maryland] State House for a good will visit while the [Angelos asbestos] bill was under consideration.” [Josh Kurtz, Maryland Matters]